A PRESTONPANS shop which was refused a licence to sell alcohol after police raised a string of concerns has been given a temporary off-sales licence, after promising to improve staff training and supervision.

Abdul Nadeem, who applied for the licence for the Pan Convenience Store, Hawthorn Place, was turned down last month after police revealed concerns about failed test purchases and illegal drink offers in the store.

However, his representative at a meeting of East Lothian Licensing Board last week urged members to base their decision on Mr Nadeem’s reputation, not problems which were not created by him.

Jane Hood told the board Mr Nadeem and his wife ran two other stores in East Lothian, without incident, and that the issues at the Prestonpans store occurred at a time when he was taking over the running and in dispute with his then business partner.

Until recently, she said, Mr Nadeem had been a sleeping partner in the store but had now taken over and was keen to prove himself to be a “fit and proper person” to hold a licence.

Appealing to the board to permit an occasional licence to sell alcohol from the store while awaiting an application for a more permanent licence, Ms Hood said Mr Nadeem had already suffered financial losses as a result of the lack of an off-sales licence.

She said: “This is a convenience store and is expected to offer what that title says; that includes selling alcohol.

“Mr Nadeem has suffered losses of up to £30,000 to date since the loss of a licence and will continue to do so until it is returned.”

Ms Hood produced a compliance document outlining Mr Nadeem’s plans to improve signage and training at the store under the Challenge 25 scheme.

The board was told Mr Nadeem and his wife, who also run stores in Musselburgh and Tranent, were taking steps to find people to take over the lease of those stores so they could focus on the Prestonpans shop.

Police said the move reassured them that moves were being made to ensure the premises complied with the regulations in the future, but warned the board “the proof is very much in the pudding”.

Members of the board agreed to grant the occasional licence after being told neither police nor their licensing standards officer had concerns about the other businesses which were operated by Mr Nadeem or his wife in the county, in the past or currently.

The property next door, the former Johnnie Cope pub, is currently applying for planning permission to become a convenience store itself.