In Brief

Thieves escape in golf buggy

Three men who broke into an off-licence escaped in a stolen golf buggy after their own getaway car crashed, Newcastle Crown Court

has heard. Michael Bellerby, David Francis and Alan Tams admitted to the smash-and-grab raid on Rothbury Wines in the early hours of July 29 last year. The trio had run out of drink on a camping trip. Tams and Francis were both given nine-month prison sentences suspended for two years with 18 months' supervision and 100 hours community service.

Rugby star sentenced

A former Wales

rugby player has escaped jail after admitting to two off-licence burglaries. Thirty-year-old Dale Burn, who was forced to quit the game after a car crash, broke into an off-licence in Worcester and a Spar supermarket in Blaenavon, escaping with cigarettes worth £4,637. Burn developed depression because he missed the thrill of playing rugby. He was sentenced to 180 hours' community service and ordered to pay £5,188.49 compensation.

Council lashes out at cut prices

Rochdale Council leader Alan Taylor has blamed cheap alcohol for the rise in binge-drinking. T aylor says he would like to see local authorities given powers to stop drinks shops from selling drink too cheaply. He told the Rochdale Observer: "You have ridiculous offers like 12 cans of beer for £5 or bottles of wine cheaper than three quid. I think that is wrong and I think this council and our police would appreciate more powers through our licensing department to restrict this."

Off-licences fail test purchases


Council has prosecuted three off-licences that failed test purchases. The cases were the first prosecutions brought by the council against premises that sold alcohol to under-18 s and are part of the council's "zero-tolerance approach to under-age sales". Three cases were heard at Brentford Magistrates' Court, where four defendants pleaded guilty and each received a conditional discharge of between six and 12 months.

Drinks shop boss fined

An off-licence owner has been fined £5,300 after letting staff without licences sell alcohol from his shop. Milton Keynes magistrates heard how Kathirvelu Komaleswaran applied for a new licence back in 2005, for his Best One shop in Annesley Road, Newport Pagnell. The licence was granted on condition that there was a personal licence holder on the premises at all times when alcohol was sold. This condition was broken at least four times, police said. The premises licence was transferred in March and Komaleswaran is no longer the licence holder.

Opposed store gets go-ahead

Plans for an off-licence in

Macclesfield have been given the go-ahead despite a 94-signature petition and 12 letters of complaint. Owner Gulbahar Khan will open the

shop on a former bakery site.