A supermarket is facing losing its licence, after claims of public nuisance.
The licence of Europa Delikatesy in Ribbleton, Preston, hangs in the balance after a meeting of Preston Council’s licensing committee heard complaints from businesses of customers drinking alcohol in a nearby car park, and urinating against their premises.
Bosses at the Ribbleton Lane shop – which the meeting heard had recently changed its name to Baltic Delikatesy – said they were working to turn things around, but police urged councillors to fully revoke the premises licence.
After a meeting lasting almost six hours on Wednesday, with representations from police, environmental health, Trading Standards and local businesses, committee members adjourned until Friday to make their decision.
Police said their “fundamental concern” was around the issue of public nuisance, which they said had not been a problem before Europa Delikatesy opened two years ago.
PC Adam Kelsall, community beat manager in St Matthew’s ward, said: “The complaints were made about litter, alcohol containers being strewn on the business premises, urination in doorways and at times, when business owners have challenged the people doing this, they have received verbal abuse and threats.”
There were reports of groups congregating and drinking in a car park outside the shop and on the corner of Longworth Street.
Representatives for the licence holder suggested the alcohol may be being sold from nearby shops, and not Europa Delikatesy. But PC Kelsall said: “We don’t think it is just a coincidence.
“From what we’ve seen, people seem to be using (Europa Delikatesy) as a kind of social hub.
“They are buying alcohol and we believe they are using Europa Delikatesy for the alcohol, and they will sit and socialise nearby and that’s where the problems stem from.”
Peter Robinson, of DPR next to Europa Delikatesy, said he had been on Ribbleton Lane for 20 years, and said: “I’m all for people trying to get a living, but it’s detrimental, I’ve had customers complaining, people feel intimidated.”
He said people congregated in the car park drinking, and litter and smashed glass was an issue, adding: “It’s killing my business.”
Graham Beston, of Fleet Services, said he had been in his current premises for 26 years, behind Europa Delikatesy.
He said customers urinated in the doorway of his business and said: “It’s actually rotting the steel in some places.”
He said: “The main thing is rubbish, urinating, and groups of men who are intimidating the staff.”
Solicitor Ian Anderson said licence holder Sabah Mohammed was working to turn things around since taking over the licence in February this year.
He said certain customers had been banned from the shop, and said: “Members of staff have approached people who congregate on the car park and the response is we didn’t buy it from you, or it’s not your land, or it’s none of your business.”
He urged the committee to issue a warning letter, and for the premises to liaise with police and other agencies.
Councillors will decide tomorrow.