A Fife shop which offered free alcoholic slushies to customers has been rapped by the region’s licensing officers.
Faz Latif, licence holder of the Premier One Stop Shop in Methil, was given a verbal warning after handing out the colourful icy drinks containing strong spirits to over-18s.
Staff were said to be using stock that could not be used after minimum pricing came into effect and it was claimed the promotion was only offered after 4pm.
However, licensing standards officers swiftly cracked down on the deal as it contravened several mandatory conditions of the off-sales premises licence.
Douglas Hardaker, environmental health public protection lead officer with Fife Council, revealed the breach in an update to Fife Licensing Forum members in Glenrothes.
He confirmed the slushies were not sold in a sealed container, were likely to cause customers to contravene alcohol byelaws by drinking in the street and would appeal to younger people who might try to get them.
It also emerged the slushies had no label declaring the drink’s alcoholic strength and that spirits used were not properly measured out.
Mr Hardaker added: “This broke all sorts of mandatory conditions, but licensing standards officers advised the premises manager of his legal obligations and he agreed to cease the practice immediately.”
The drinks came to light in a social media post which showed the shop advertising free, non-alcoholic, slushies to youngsters.
However, shop manager Mr Latif was shown highlighting the alcoholic version, pouring a full bottle of pink gin into one of the slushy machines, apparently to answer criticism from some customers about the amount of alcohol in the drinks.
“We’ve heard about this in other areas but I think that’s the first one we’ve had here in Fife,” Mr Hardaker explained.
“We’ve actually had a few shops this year doing silly things, and they’ve had to tidy up their act.”
Mr Latif confirmed that he had stopped offering the slushies as soon as he was informed but said there had been no malice behind his promotion.
“I thought it would be nice for the community, and it brought a lot of cheer, something to lift the spirits.
“I spoke to someone in the licensing board and I was allowed to do them, but you need to know what percentage is in it. The police were very nice about it too but they said it could be hard to differ between a normal slush and an alcoholic slush in the street.
“I thought it would be nice for the community to come in and get something for free. Just last week I did free bread and milk and free sweets at Hallowe’en but I made the community aware that I couldn’t do the slushies any more and I respect that.”
Meanwhile, licensing standards officers have also applied for reviews of two premises licences involving “operating inconsistently with the licensing objective of preventing public nuisance”.
Both premises are pubs, one in Cowdenbeath, the other in Lochgelly.
Licence holders have been advised of complaints about noise caused by amplified music, and that they must take steps to reduce this to an acceptable level.
However, to date, neither premises have heeded the advice.