Five more Islington shops punished in smuggled alcohol crackdown

The council’s crusade against illict booze continues with another off license losing its license and four more being hit with suspensions.

A total six shops have had their license permanently revoked since a series of raids in the winter, with a further seven shops getting suspension.

Last week, The Nags Head off licence, in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, had their license taken away after two raids turned up almost 160 litres of spirits and 129 bottles of wine.

Berhane Asmelash, the licensee, was warned about the dangers of smuggled booze after the first raid. Staff were also caught selling alcohol to a 15-year-old who was a trading standards plant.

Mr Asmelah said: “I am angry but there is no point appealing. They want to get rid of the small business and help the big shops. Four or five other places have closed just round me recently. If they carry on, Islington will be like a ghost town. I will have to just move on”

Meanwhile City Mini Market, in City Road, Finsbury, and Arsenal Supermarket, in Jackson Road, Holloway, were both given 28 day suspensions after officers raided each shop and found alcohol thought to be smuggled.

In addition, Mr Din Kahn, the designated premises supervisor at Arsenal Supermarket, was taken off the license.

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At the same meeting, Rose Wine Off License, in Fonthill Road, Finsbury Park, and the Food and Wine Shop, in City Road, Finsbury, were banned from selling booze for 14 days after suspected smuggled booze was found during raids.

All four shops that received suspensions also had extra conditions put on their licenses.

Another eight shops will face the licensing panel in the coming weeks.

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “We do not want smuggled or counterfeit alcohol for sale in the Borough of Islington. No one knows what’s in the bottles and what harm it can do, it’s illegal trading that supports and finances organised crime.

“We will continue to work with and educate businesses rather than take their licences away, but we will take strong action against off-licences that stock illicit booze. Any business who wants advice can call Islington Trading Standards on 020 7527 4028.”