A VILLAGE business has won a licence to sell alcohol despite  “major problems” with anti-social behaviour in the area.

Sacriston Stores applied to Durham County Council for a premises licence for a shop on Front Street, Sacriston.

This included selling alcohol between 8am and 11pm seven days a week and a 24-hour drinks delivery service.

On February 6, the council’s statutory licensing sub-committee discussed the bid.

After Durham police raised concerns about 24-hour sales, applicant Shahid Mohammed withdrew the deliveries proposal.

Police and City of Durham Parish Council then removed their objections but Sacriston Parish Council refused to budge over anti-social behaviour fears.

Councillor Hughie Dixon told the meeting there were “major problems” in the village with alcohol and drug-related trouble.

Between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018, he said, there were 63 youth-related anti-social behaviour incidents in the village– 38 of which were linked to alcohol.

“We’re fully aware that young people are coming into the village because it’s so easy to get alcohol in Sacriston and it’s a problem we’re fully aware of and trying to address,” he added.

“There is a negative effect on the people on Sacriston who want a quiet and peaceful environment for their families to live.”

He said there were enough licensed premises in the village and a multi-agency group had been set up to tackle wider crime issues.

The applicant's agent Tim Robson, of TJR Licensing, said training courses would be provided for store owners around proxy sales, age-restricted products, drunkenness, drugs, weapons and vulnerability. It aims to ensure the shop follows licensing rules, including 28-day CCTV.

The meeting heard plans to turn a former Bargain Booze store into a gym had seen a reduction in the number of premises serving alcohol.

“I do feel we have gone well and truly overboard in preparing a training package to ensure that this premises operates in a safe and socially responsible manner,” Mr Robson added.

Following discussion, the sub-committee voted to grant the licence.

Chairman Coun  Joyce Maitland said: “We’re really glad you took the 24-hour delivery service out, that really concerned us for many reasons.

“One (licenced premises) is closing and one is taking over and we can’t say your business is going to make any difference to what goes on.

“If anything happens you will be back in front of this committee straight away and they may not be as nice as us.”