Wakefield shop stopped from selling Romanian booze after police object

Magazin Acasa serves the estimated 500 Romanian residents living in Wakefield.
Magazin Acasa serves the estimated 500 Romanian residents living in Wakefield.

A food store has been denied permission to sell alcohol after police said they couldn't "cope" with another off licence in Wakefield city centre.

The manageress of Magazin Acasa, on The Springs, said she wanted to serve wine and beer products from Romania to customers between 9am and 10pm every day of the week.

Police say Wakefield's daily street drinking issues are at its worst around the cathedral precinct

Police say Wakefield's daily street drinking issues are at its worst around the cathedral precinct

But council policy now dictates that no more booze licences can be granted anywhere in the city centre, unless "exceptional circumstances" are demonstrated.

And West Yorkshire Police, who said earlier this week that street drinking in the area was getting worse, told a licensing hearing that crime would increase if permission was granted.

Speaking on behalf of the shop manager at the meeting, Sorin Muflic said the store served an estimated 500 Romanian nationals living in Wakefield.

He said the drinks the store was looking to sell would be exclusive to them, because Romania's tastes are different to other Eastern European countries.

He said: "Because these products are being imported from Romania, they will not be cheap because of the costs of the transport and the excise duty.

"This is the only chance the Romanian community to have access to these products.

"There are 1,400 premises licences in this city. We thought that another one for such a small store shouldn't be a problem.

"We know our customers as well, and we know they are not drunk."

Asked by Coun Clive Tennant how strong the beer on sale would be, Mr Muflic replied: "The percentage would not be very big, but it is very tasty."

But PC Chris Schofield urged the council to reject the application.

He said: "All my team have done all summer is seize alcohol from people.

"On a normal day, officers can sometimes have dealt with seven such incidents within two hours of a 7am shift starting.

"We can't stretch neighbourhood policing teams any further.

"The worst part of the city centre for street drinking is around the cathedral precinct and on Kirkgate, which is a stone's throw from where this premises is."

In their conclusion, councillors said the applicant had not demonstrated exceptional circumstances and the bid was refused.

Local Democracy Reporting Service