Dagenham newsagent pleads for licence

A NEWSAGENT facing collapse is pleading council bosses to let it sell alcohol despite an underage drinking outcry. Saxson News in Dagenham was last night [January 12] asking for a 5am-11pm alcohol licence in a street-drinking exclusion zone neighbours sa

A NEWSAGENT facing collapse is pleading council bosses to let it sell alcohol despite an underage drinking outcry.

Saxson News in Dagenham was last night [January 12] asking for a 5am-11pm alcohol licence in a street-drinking exclusion zone neighbours say is overrun by drunken youths forcing adults to buy beer for them.

A disabled woman kept awake by the thugs said she would become a "prisoner" in her home if the licence was given, a neighbour said he was beaten twice by intoxicated youths and others warned the mayhem of teenagers "running wild" would escalate to a "whole new level".

But the 1946 newsagent sandwiched between a wine shop and alcohol-selling store Londis said it may go under within a year unless it can diversify, after paper sales fell by half to less than �500 a week.

Saxson owner Markandu Mathiventhan, told the POST: "Paper sales have gone down. I have no choice, I don't know by this time next year, I might be closed down."

Police said they had no records of crime or disorder at the Rainham Road South newsagent in the past year and felt a raft of conditions including CCTV and a "challenge 21" sales policy would be sufficient.

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But the disabled woman said: "I frequently get abused by children asking me to buy

alcohol for them.

"Mostly I stay indoors as I am scared to go outside. I do not want to be a prisoner in my own home."

Neighbour John Price said: "I would not want to be disturbed in the early hours of the morning and have more kids and alcoholics running wild."

Eugene Hempestall, of Rainham Road South, added: "Getting another off-licence will make this problem come on a whole different level."

Councillors were due to make a decision on December 22 but the meeting was postponed to January 12.

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