South East Wales

Claims Newport shop sold alcohol to 55 children and asked them to hide it

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Media captionJayesh Patel defended himself against the claims when quizzed by BBC Wales Jordan Davies

A Newport newsagent has been stripped of its licence over allegations alcohol was sold to 55 children aged as young as 11, who were then told to hide it from CCTV cameras.

Investigators claim a child was found unconscious and taken to hospital after drinking alcohol bought from Jayesh Patel's B&J Newsagent on Chepstow Road.

Police also sent 103 letters to parents after children were drunk in a park.

Newport council said it is considering further legal action against the shop.

A council report into the newsagent, which has been run by Mr Patel since 2005, gathered evidence from Trading Standards, Gwent Police and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

It was alleged two 12-year-old girls became so ill from alcohol bought at the shop they had to be taken to hospital.

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Image caption B&J Newsagents could have its licence revoked today over allegations alcohol was sold to children

But Mr Patel denied the allegation.

Another 13-year-old was brought home drunk by three police officers because she could not walk.

Other children said the premises holder told them to put bottles of alcohol in their coat to hide the sale, according to the report.

A Gwent police officer told the licensing hearing that 103 letters had been sent to children found to be drunk in a park near Mr Patel's shop.

The hearing was told there has been a "spike" in antisocial behaviour in the Beechwood Park area.

The officer said many of the children had said they had bought the alcohol from a person called "J", who was identified in the hearing as Mr Patel.

The hearing was told that Mr Patel operated a system where girls were told to open their bags, and the alcohol was placed in the bags underneath the counter.

Image caption Jayesh Patel has run B&J Newsagents since 2005 and attended the licensing hearing to put his case

At the hearing Mr Patel said "there may have been on the odd occasion that I have sold to a minor", adding he may have told them "alright fine stick it under your coat if you want".

He said "the kids are already intoxicated before they get to us".

Speaking after the hearing decision, a spokesman for the council said: "Newport City Council's licensing committee met earlier today and decided there should be a full revocation of the licence for breaching all four objectives of the Licensing Act 2003, namely; protection of children from harm; prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; prevention of public nuisance."

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