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Medway councillors allow Baba Food and Wine to keep selling booze in Gillingham, High Street

A high street off-licence has been allowed to continue selling booze despite the police linking it with a number of crimes and disturbances.

Incidents including fighting, road racing, and a robbery were all connected to Baba Food and Wine in Gillingham.

Baba Food and Wine in Gillingham High Street
Baba Food and Wine in Gillingham High Street

Police said the town has an issue with street drinking and the shop was found to be selling high-strength cider and larger to those taking part, therefore fuelling the problem.

The force called for a review of the shop's licence after persuading councillors to deny permission for a new alcohol licence application for Baba Food Centre – which is two doors down from the High Street store and has the same owners – in March.

The review of the shop's 24-hour licence took place last Tuesday.

A barrister acting on behalf of the store – which neighbours St Mark's Church – said a number of new measures had been imposed to put off street drinkers such as ending the sale of some high-strength drinks.

Councillors decided to impose further measures on the shop's licence including banning the sale of beer, lager, or spirit mixers above 5.5% ABV.

Street drinking is a problem in the town centre
Street drinking is a problem in the town centre

They also asked if CCTV could be increased to cover the front of the shop, and if all alcohol products can be labelled with the shop's name. Another measure will see alcohol sold in branded bags so litter can be traced back to the shop if it is discarded.

The shop will also have to ban the sale of alcohol to known street drinkers or anyone causing a disturbance, and employ a door supervisor between 11pm and 6am.

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