Dalston shopkeeper claims he’s scapegoat for Gillett Square drinkers

Kingsland Wine in Kingsland High Street. Photo Emma Bartholomew

Kingsland Wine in Kingsland High Street. Photo Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

A shopkeeper accused of fuelling the problem of drunken street drinkers in Dalston claims he is being made a scapegoat and will appeal the decision to revoke his licence.

Abdul Wahid, licence holder of Kingsland Food and Wines, was also accused of selling alcohol after his licensed hour of 11pm by the Met Police, which applied for last week’s review on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder and public safety.

Last July Mr Wahid accepted a caution for selling alcohol in the Kingsland High Street shop after his permitted licensing hours.

However, police claim they have since witnessed alcohol sales after 11pm twice in the past six months.

Met licensing officer, Mandy Eva, detailed in her report for Hackney Council’s licensing sub-committee that on Friday, February 7, a plain clothes officer approached several members of the public who had left the store after 11pm, who confirmed they had purchased alcohol from the shop, served by Mr Wahid’s brother. “All parties denied selling after hours and reacted badly to the officers, who were pushed by the licensee and his brother.

“The venue in general is known to attract the local street drinkers who purchase their alcohol and then frequent areas such as Gillett Square causing nuisance to residents and pedestrians.”

Darren Reilly, the council’s licensing officer supported the review said: “The fact that allegations of after-hours sales continued after this caution and further evidence of after-hours sales has been obtained by the police demonstrate poor management and lack of responsibility.”

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However, Mr Wahid denied pushing the police officers, and believes he is being made a scapegoat for the problems in Gillett Square.

“They blamed us for everything around here, but other shops have later licences. I am a responsible person and I have run this shop for the past 12 years.

“If I pushed a policeman why didn’t they arrest me?” he asked.

“Most of the people causing anti-social behaviour in Gillett Square – 90 per cent – are banned from our shop. The other 10 per cent, when they come here they are not drunk, if they are drunk we don’t serve them.

“It is a worry, it’s my livelihood, my family and my four children are all dependent on this shop.”

Mr Wahid claims he was only served the review papers last Wednesday which did not give him enough time to prepare his evidence for the town hall hearing, and he will appeal the decision.