‘Knife wielding thugs’ threaten shop staff and terrify neighbours

A terrified Garston resident has claimed shop staff were threatened by "knife-wielding thugs" in a letter written to the council.

A statement to the council to oppose the extension of an alcohol licence for Garston Food and Wine on St Mary's Road details an attempted break in at the shop as well as threats of violence to staff.

The shop is hoping to sell alcohol until 11pm, three hours longer than its current licence allows.

However, while the resident who wrote the letter said the shop should not be granted a licence to sell alcohol because of the issues, Merseyside Police has made no objection to the licence application.

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The resident, who is not named, says that they have had to ring the police multiple times after attempted break-ins and threats of violence.

They say: "I oppose the application because I have had to dial 999 in order to get rapid response to break-ins at the shop, leaving me fearful.

"After one particular experience when I heard banging and I went to investigate I surprised a would be burglar breaking a window in order to access my flat then presumably to attempt to break into the shop through the ceiling from my bedroom.

"After this I had security railings fitted for piece of mind.

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"Police have been called to the shop when, on at least once occasion, the one member of staff was threatened by at least one knife wielding thug and his companions."

The individual says the shop is a "magnet" for young teenagers gathering outside to smoke and drink, "usually in an anti-social manner".

They also voice concern for the staff operating the shop if it is allowed to open later.

The shop's licence holder, Dineskandan Sriskantharajan, says it is "well established in the area" and will operate strict policies to ensure any incidents of crime are recorded and to make sure alcohol is not sold to underage drinkers.

CCTV would also be fitted and any recordings kept for 28 days.

A letter from the applicant says: "The PLH [premises licence holder] and staff will be vigilant and monitor the area outside the shop to ensure that youths do not cause annoyance by congregating. Deliveries to the premises will be arranged so as not to cause any public nuisance.

"Notices will be on display in the premises asking customers to leave the premises quietly. Staff will monitor the area immediately outside the premises on a regular basis to check for, and dispose of, any litter from the shop."

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Like police, the fire service, environmental health and the council's own licensing team have not objected to the application.

The council's licensing sub-committee will decide on the application next Tuesday.

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