A HEARING to determine whether a town centre grocery store would be granted a licence to sell alcohol has been adjourned because the applicant was in Iraq getting married.

Amer Ahmed Khedir has applied to Darlington Borough Council for a premises licence for the store in Bondgate, known as Darlington Supermarket.

Mr Khedir wants a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, between 8am and 11pm each day.

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The council’s licensing sub-committee met to consider the application on Thursday (March 27).

Paul Byatt, Mr Khedir’s representative, told members his client was in Iraq.

Members chose to adjourn after deciding they had specific questions to put to Mr Khedir.

It was not clear whether Mr Khedir had received papers relating to the application.

A report prepared for members said trading standards officers carried out test purchases of cigarettes at the store in September and October last year.

On each occasion, the cigarettes were found to be counterfeit.

Earlier this month, the council receive an anonymous letter purporting to come from five concerned residents, which alleged that the sale of counterfeit cigarettes had continued.

The report added: “As the authors of the representation have not provided any such details, members should consider what weight, if any, should be given to this representation.”

Mr Byatt said Mr Khedir had no involvement in the sale of counterfeit cigarettes, but the conversation ended abruptly when the hearing was adjourned.

Officers were asked to determine a suitable date for the hearing to be reconvened.