A MARKET trader has escaped with a warning after he was hauled before community leaders for selling alcohol to nuisance drinkers.
A Blackpool Council licensing panel heard how Kailasben Gandhi, who runs Abingdon News and Booze at stall 13 inside Abingdon Street Market, had served people who pestered other customers and caused anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
He was allowed to keep his licence but a number of conditions were attached to it including that he must fit CCTV, undertake training, join the town centre Shopwatch and ban those people from his shop notified to him by the police.
Licensing chairman Coun Norman Hardy told the hearing: “We are minded to allow the licence to continue but there has to be a severe warning as to future conduct.
“Selling alcohol in Blackpool is not an easy job. It does bring with it responsibility.”
In a written submission to the hearing, Abingdon Street Market manager Bob Littlewood said: “During the year of 2012, problems increased with local street drinkers and beggars coming into the market and hanging around outside the doors pestering customers.
“They would congregate on the fixed seating and benches on Cedar Square.”
He said one of the main reasons these people entered the market “was to purchase alcohol from stall 13.”
Solicitor Allan Cobain, representing Mr Gandhi, said his client and his wife now appreciated their obligations more clearly.
He added: “Since October, there hasn’t been any particular issues, and I have little doubt there has been lots of monitoring by police officers in the area and the superintendent at the market.
“They also now have a refusals register and are being more vigilant in regard to that.”
Mr Cobain added racial tensions may have played a part in the couple’s willingness to serve problem drinkers.
He said: “Because of their ethnic background, I think they thought they did not want the racial abuse which would follow if they refused.”
Mark Marshall, licensing health and safety manager at Blackpool Council, said there was now a better awareness by the licence holders about their responsibilities.
He said: “We are in agreement to give them a second chance.”