'We didn't sell him alcohol - he stole it': Northampton shop owner protests licence suspension over alleged sale to a drunk

Market Square Mini Market in Northampton has had its alcohol licence suspended.
Market Square Mini Market in Northampton has had its alcohol licence suspended.

A Northampton shop owner is considering whether to fight an eight-week suspension to his alcohol licence over the alleged sale of alcohol to a drunk man.

Selvakarthick Balusamy faced a licensing hearing yesterday after police said a worker of his served a "highly intoxicated male" who had stumbled across Market Square into his mini market.

The man was then seen walking away and kicking a window afterwards.

When police visited the store day after the incident they said they found "considerable grounds" to revoke Mr Balusamy's licence.

Spirits, they said, were available in the self-service aisles, the CCTV system was not working and the man in the shop at the time of the visit was not entitled to work in the UK.

The shop, located next to Burger King in Market Square, will not be able to sell alcohol for the next eight weeks after the punishment was handed out by Northampton Borough Council yesterday.

But owner Mr Balusamy, says he is talking to his lawyers about appealing, as he claims the drunk man actually stole the large bottle of Stella Artois on February 1.

"I didn't serve that man alcohol, he stole it," said the shop owner.

"This is happening here all the time.The other day someone stole wine bottles from here."

Mr Balusamy said the man in the store when police arrived on February 2 was his "best friend" and was not working there.

He claims he had nipped out for "10 minutes" to head to the bank and had instructed his friend not to serve anyone.

"I work here all the time, why would I need to hire an illegal worker?" said the off-licence owner.

Mini Market was the subject of a licence review in November 2015 due to two drunk sales and its contribution to anti-social behaviour in and around Market Square.

Mr Balusamy, who took over the business in 2016, said he will talk to his lawyers about a possible appeal this week.