Camden grocery store flogged booze after hours and refused to hand camera footage to police

The Costcutter on Drummond Street. Image: Google

A grocery store that sold alcohol after hours and failed to provide camera footage to police has had its licence revoked.

Drummond Street Costcutter Ltd made “persistent breaches” of conditions, Camden Council’s licensing committee was told this week.

The off-licence near Euston is open 24 hours a day. It was licensed to sell alcohol between 10am and 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 11am to 10.30pm on Sundays.

The Metropolitan Police asked for the licence review following a meeting with the business earlier this year.

Staff failed to provide closed circuit television (CCTV) footage when requested to do so by the police.

Police lawyer Stephanie Bruce-Smith said: “We consider the licensing objectives are not being upheld due to persistent breaching of the licensing conditions, with the selling of alcohol outside permitted hours and not complying with CCTV conditions.”

Staff had to be able to operate the CCTV system and provide footage to the police when asked.

She said in January this year, police saw two men go into the shop and leave carrying four cans of beer around 2.45am. The shop could not provide CCTV.

On a second occasion in March, a man left the shop “with champagne in a carrier bag at around 1.10am”.

CCTV footage in the shop showed how the bottle of champagne was collected from a back room and given to the customer when he paid.

Bruce-Smith said the footage was not handed over to police afterwards.

Several breaches were noted during an enforcement visit to the shop this July.

Esther Jones from Camden Council’s enforcement team said they had contacted the shop several times.

Residents contacted them with concerns about anti-social behaviour and drinking in Tolmers Square nearby.

David Dadds, the lawyer for the business, said there was no evidence linking the shop with the drinking in the square.

He explained that management are now inspecting the Square as part of their regular checks. There were not any out-of-hours sales in the last six months, he claimed.

Shutters had been installed to hide alcohol from view, and there had been no prosecutions, he added.

“Revocation is completely disproportionate,” Dadds said.

He said CCTV is now available and that staff have received training at the family-run business.

Several residents wrote to the licensing department in support of the shop and said alcohol was not available after-hours.

The hearing was “a bit of a wake-up call”, Dadds said.

Committee member Cllr Sylvia McNamara said the meeting at the police station should have already raised concerns.

She said: “There have been so many breaches. To me, it’s really not acceptable.”

The committee decided to revoke the alcohol licence after a three-hour hearing. The business can appeal.

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