AN OFF-LICENCE that sold alcohol to under-age children three times has had its licence permanently removed.

The Happy Shopper, in Briercliffe Road, Burnley, was up before the council’s licensing committee for the second time since June.

The premises were accused of selling a bottle of Lambrini to a 16-year-old girl during a police test purchasing operation on July 10, less than a month after the first review.

Coun Anne Kelly, chairman of the three-man committee, said they had no choice but to revoke the licence.

She said: “We did consider suspending the licence, but a previous suspension and conditions were not fully implemented, and a further larger suspension would not be an effective remedy.”

A condition of training staff for alcohol sales placed on the premises in June was not brought in, and police said they had been given no explanation as to why.

Anthony Horne, representing the police, said: “With a second hearing due you would think the licensee would be desperate to get the staff training records to the police station, but that was not the case.”

Mr Horne added that the area suffered from problems with youths gathering in large groups and anti-social behaviour, and that a continued disregard for under-age alcohol sales was not helping.

PC Mike Driver, police licensing officer, went into the Happy Shopper on August 9 to check previous conditions had been met, and was “astonished” that the member of staff on duty struggled to communicate in English and couldn’t explain the Challenge 21 policy.

Waliati Rathore, representing licensee Mohammed Ajaz Ahmed, said the shop was now clamping down on the problems they had.

He said: “A suspension of the licence would give Mr Ahmed a chance to sort the staff training out.

“But all the other conditions have now been met and there have been no failed test purchases since July 10.

“Mr Ahmed and his family, including his disabled son, are entirely reliant on the income from this business.”

The Happy Shopper will be able to continue selling alcohol for 21 days, while it considers an appeal against the decision.

Speaking after the case, Coun Darren Reynolds said: “This is great news for the local community.”