THE manager of a controversial convenience store which has lost its license to sell alcohol has vowed to keep his shop open.

Mehmet Yildirim, who runs the International Food Centre in Binford Place, Bridgwater, claims his store had been singled out by Sedgemoor District Council and said the street drinkers will buy alcohol from other nearby stores.

"I have been in Bridgwater for 11 years, I always pay my taxes. People think now we are closing but I want to reassure people that is not the case, I have my lease for 20 years," Mr Yildirim said.

"I feel my store has been singled out by Sedgemoor District Council. I do not have any problem with the police - when I was attacked by street drinkers when I refused to sell them alcohol the police were helpful.

"But when I have appeared in court they only listen to the council, not to me. Everyone is blaming me for this problem, but is unfair."

The International Food Store had its license to sell alcohol revoked after a meeting of Sedgemoor District Council's Licensing Panel on Wednesday, October 4.

The panel said the revocation of the license was the only appropriate sanction and it will take effect from 8am on October 25.

The panel cited concerns over 'repeated criminal activity' on the premises including the smuggling of illicit tobacco, and also how the store had failed to comply with licensing condition despite numerous warnings.

Jeff Savage, chairman of the Sedgemoor District Council Licensing and Gambling Committee, said: "It is the belief of this panel that Mr Yildirim's acceptance of his transgressions is too little, too late. The Panel has considered the suspension of the licence to enable Mr Yildirim to address the licence breaches but has no confidence in his ability to do so.

"The Panel reiterates it comments made in January that Mr Yildirim still appears ill-equipped, unprepared and lacking in ability to manage a licensed premises."

A spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council said: "We only reviewed this license due to the police asking for a review. All the correct procedures were followed."

What do you think? Is Mr Yildirim's being treated as a scapegoat for problems with Anti-Social Behaviour in Binford Place?