Sheffield store which sold booze to underage youngsters has licence review put on hold

Butlers Express, right, may have to be demolished due to collapse of flats next door
Butlers Express, right, may have to be demolished due to collapse of flats next door

LICENSING chiefs have postponed a hearing to discuss sanctions against a Sheffield convenience store caught serving booze to under-18s - because of the collapse of neighbouring flats.

Butlers Express, on Brook Hill, had been due to have its licence reviewed by councillors after an application by South Yorkshire Police.

But the hearing has been postponed indefinitely because the shop may have to be demolished.

Student flats next to the store, above the former Butlers Balti House, dramatically collapsed just over a week ago.

The incident is believed to have been caused by the removal of an internal supporting wall during building work.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the incident.

Coun Clive Skelton, a member of the Sheffield Council licensing committee which had been due to carry out the review, said: “The meeting has been postponed because Butlers is awaiting the outcome of a structural review to see whether the building is safe.

“After the collapse of the neighbouring flats, the building may have to be demolished.”

South Yorkshire Police asked Sheffield Council for a licensing review of Butlers Express on the grounds of ‘prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm’.

A report by police said the premises failed three out of four ‘test purchasing’ operations, where under-age police cadets are sent into licensed premises to buy alcohol.

Volunteers as young as 14 were sold booze.

The store had previously agreed to a 48-hour voluntary closure last September for the first two underage sales - but the licence review was called after the shop again failed a test purchasing operation.

South Yorkshire Police said in their report to councillors: “Test purchasing operations are conducted to provide a positive response following complaints from the public and police staff that many instances of anti-social behaviour involve young people under 18 who have acquired alcohol.

“Instances of concern relate to shopping precincts, park areas and other locations, which suffer from grafitti, criminal damage and threatening behaviour by these young people.”