A SHOPKEEPER has been granted temporary alcohol licences after taking over a shop which had a history of selling booze to youngsters and illegal cigarettes.

New owner Bilal Muhammed applied for three temporary licences to allow him to sell alcohol at Royle News, also known as Breightmet Off Licence on Bolton Road, Breightmet, after his application had been delayed due to initial concern about the last owners of the off licence.

The licences were approved at the meeting after it was established that the events which the police were concerned about had occurred before Mr Muhammed was involved with the premises.

Mr Muhammed said: “The police were trying to say that I was involved in something.

“I explained that I didn’t own the shop at that point and it all went fairly smoothly after that and everything got sorted.

“I don’t think I was treated unfairly really.”

The committee was advised that criminal activity had allegedly taken place at the premises on two separate occasions in August 2020, before Mr Muhammed had taken over.

On August 3 it was alleged that illegal tobacco had been sold to a surveillance group operative.

The tobacco was said to have been sold in branded packaging which indicated that it was not legal for sale.

It was also alleged that on August 20 a 13-year-old girl and her friends had purchased a large amount of alcohol from the premises and was found intoxicated in a park.

The shop was also said to be a gathering point for local youths due to common knowledge that alcohol purchases were not challenged.

Anti-social behaviour was said to be common on the premises.

The shop had seen its licence to sell alcohol revoked following a review on March 16, 2021.

The committee heard that Mr Muhammed had purchased the shop in March 2021 and that his licence application had been delayed.

Mr Muhammed’s representation told the committee that objections from the police related to incidents which had occurred prior to him acquiring the premises.

The committee also heard that since he had taken over the running of the shop he had been maintaining a refusal register, an incident book, and was operating the Challenge 25 scheme.