Alcohol destroyed following court ruling
A large quantity of alcohol has been destroyed following a ruling at Newry Magistrates Court. At a hearing several weeks ago the Court ruled that alcohol seized from an illegal drinking den in Kilkeel should be destroyed to send out a message to others taking part in this type of crime.
The alcohol was seized during the search of a suspected shebeen at Mourne Esplanade, Kilkeel on Sunday, 19th June, 2011. Thirty seven people were found drinking alcohol in a garage which had been converted into a fully operational bar. A sum of cash was seized and the bar and contents, including furniture and fridges, were also seized by police. The haul of seized goods including 140 tins and bottles of various brands of beer, 40 bottles of assorted spirits/wines and 82 tins/bottles of soft drinks.
A 49 year old male and 49 year old female pleaded guilty to a number of offences including selling intoxicating liquor without a license and possession of criminal property. They were sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years. A forfeiture order was issued by the court in relation to the monies seized and a forfeiture/destruction order was also issued regarding the alcohol seized.
Speaking to Newry Times, Sergeant Stephen Davies of the South Down Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This should send a clear message that we will take action against those who flout the law and operate illegal ‘drinking dens’. Shebeens, as they are commonly known, are not subject to the rigorous health and safety checks that licensed premises undergo so pose a real risk to those who use them. They are also a blight on the area as it is the local community who suffer from the antisocial element of noise and rowdy behaviour, often during the early hours.”
He added, “Shebeens also have an adverse impact on legitimate licensed premises who operate within the law and adhere to health and safety regulations which protect their patrons. Residents in Kilkeel told us of their concerns in relation to this illegal activity and we have shown that we will do our utmost to tackle the issues that matter most to them.”
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