A convenience store could lose its licence after repeatedly selling alcohol and cigarettes to underage children.

Hyndburn Council is to review the premises licence of Nawaz Food Stores and Off Licence in Edleston Street, Accrington, after joint test purchases between the police and Lancashire Trading Standards revealed the shopkeeper was selling alcohol to children as young as 14.

On July 8, at 6.30pm, two 14-year-old female police cadets dressed in civilian clothes, entered Nawaz Food Stores, and one of the girls selected a can of Stella Artois lager, walked to the counter, paid for the can of beer and walked out of the shop unchallenged.

On exiting the shop, the cadets made the police and Trading Standards aware they had been served with alcohol.

Police then entered the shop to challenge the shopkeeper, who denied making any sale and saying he’d served a 30-year-old who must’ve passed the alcohol on to the two girls.

He was warned the transaction had been caught on camera but continued to deny selling the alcohol, claiming the two girls had lied, or stolen it.

Finally he conceded when he was shown his own CCTV, and was given a fixed penalty notice.

Then on October 26, a second test purchase operation was carried out during which several establishments were visited - one of them being Nawaz Food Stores.

This time, two 14-year-old boys entered the shop wearing a covert camera, walked over to the chilled alcohol section, selected a bottle of cider and approached the counter area of the shop.

Again, the same shopkeeper was the only member of staff behind the counter at this time and allowed the boys to buy the cider.

As they neared the exit, he asked: “Are you boys over 18?”, to which they answered, “yes,” and he asked them for their ID.

The boys told him they had none and he said: “Just bring it with you next time.”

Previous concerns about the shop include an incident from October 2021 which revealed the owner was selling duty free cigarettes and single cigarettes to kids.

And on August 9 2017, a report was made from a member of public stating the store was selling cigarettes to children as young as nine - the informant said her son who is 12 and has special needs was sold cigarettes.

On March 13 2016, a report was made by the manager of a semi-supported unit for 16-18 year olds and one of them said the shop was selling them alcohol and single cigarettes

On February 7 2020, police licensing volunteer David Pill visited the store and noted there was no staff training records, or posters on display about underage sales

On December 9, police officers from the licensing team visited Mr Nawaz at his store and issued him with a fixed penalty in relation to the failed test purchase that happened on October 26.

While in the shop, officers noticed a distinct lack of lack challenge 25 material on display or any records of training.

Officers spoke with Mr Nawaz and his son Asif and gave suitable advice on these matters and explained how this might be improved.

The premises licence is being reviewed in relation to the protection of children from harm and will be brought before the licencing committee next week. 

Hyndburn Council said it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement in connection with an application, punishable with a maximum fine of £5000 on summary conviction.