Dear Cllr Stephanos Ioannou,
I write in response to your enquiry regarding Southgate Food Centre.
The Licensing Authority have reviewed the licence and in July 2023 the licence was revoked by the Licensing Sub Committee. The licence holder subsequently appealed the decision. The law allows the licence holder to continue to use the licence until the appeal is heard and a decision made.
Out of Hours Licensing Enforcement Officers have been tasked to carry out observations of the premises. The results of these observations can be used at the licensing appeal.
On 8th November 2023 Nitrous Oxide was added to the list of controlled Class C drugs listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which is enforced by the police.
Possession of nitrous oxide, where a person intends to wrongfully inhale it for example ‘to get high’ is now an offence. Consequences could include:
An unlimited fine
Cisible community punishment
Caution which would appear on their criminal record
Prison sentence for repeat serious offenders
Licences are not required to carry nitrous oxide, but individual users will need to demonstrate they are lawfully in possession of nitrous oxide and not intending to consume it for psychoactive effects.
The maximum sentence for production, supply, importation or exportation of the drug for unlawful purposes has now doubled, from 7 to 14 years? imprisonment.
As is already the case, there is also a responsibility on legitimate producers and suppliers of nitrous oxide to not be reckless as to whether someone is buying their product to misuse, with no legitimate reason. Turning a blind eye will be committing an offence.
Now this legislation has come into effect, we encourage members of the public to report any illegal consumption of nitrous oxide or other drugs to their local police.
If the police can prove that a premises is recklessly selling Nitrous Oxide, then they will be able to argue that the Prevention of Crime and Disorder licensing objective is being undermined and submit a Premises Licence Review application or use that information in any pending licence review appeals.
Police will want evidence of anti-social behaviour associated with sales rather than just reports that sales are being made.
I have spoken to the licence holder today about nitrous oxide and he claims that they are no longer selling it.
Hopefully the change to the Misuse of Drugs Act will discourage a lot of businesses from stocking Nitrous Oxide.
Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer
Original enquiry description:
Good morning team.
I want to bring to your attention and new issue that has cropped up in the area of Southgate, particularly at Southgate Food centre on Chase side.
Ever since a successful closure of Maxi, food and wine or happy food and wine. As it is now known there has now been a new business along the High Street that is seeking to reap the benefits of their closure for their financial game. Again I am talking about Southgate Food Centre. It says the closure of happy food and wine. Southgate Food Centre have now started to sell their own nitrous oxide gas and are selling actively to young members within a community. This is exactly the same set up and exactly the same apparatus that Maxi happy food and wine are using
On that basis, enforcement and licensing must now go to the premises of Southgate, food and wine and act accordingly to swiftly get them closed down as I have done with happy.
Can licensing therefore give us an urgent response and tell us how they intend to act in order to close the shop revoke their license, whether it be their alcohol or entire license and order them a closure. This is not the first time that Southgate freedom has been caught to solo side and sometimes looking down the premises. I have actually seen it in the window of the Premises
This is very serious and I want the department to take this very seriously please and we must stack quickly in order not to lose the trust and confidence of the department and of the council. Thank you