A GAMING shop has been granted a licence to sell alcohol after police expressed concerns about crime and underage drinking.

Retroids, a retro gaming shop filled with old school arcade machines and comics, was granted permission to sell alcohol by the city council after concerns were raised by West Mercia Police that selling beer would increase the potential for disorder and child sexual exploitation around that area of the city centre.

Co-owner David Newey rejected the concerns of West Mercia Police last week and insisted alcohol would not be sold to youngsters at Retroid and that was repeated again at Wednesday's (November 28) licensing meeting.

Speaking to the subcommittee, co-owner Steve Newey said he understood the concerns of the police but the sale of alcohol would only be to provide an extra comfort for the visitors to his shop.

He said: "It will not be a pub. We will not be advertising drinking."

Mr Newey said that whilst the application was to sell alcohol between the hours of 12pm and 11pm, the shop would most likely close at around 8pm.

He said the sale of alcohol would have "minimal impact" on the area and he would not expect customers to his shop to be aggressive or confrontational or be leaving late at night.

Mr Newey said his years offering tattoos and piercings had made him vigilant in identify those underage and he insisted every person who asked to buy alcohol would be asked for ID as part of Challenge 25.

Mr Newey said the child sexual exploitation claims had been denied by the police but West Mercia Police said they did have legitimate concerns.

Sergeant Paul Smith, of the south Worcestershire licensing team, said the police did have concerns about the sale of the alcohol at Retroid increasing the risk of child sexual exploitation in and around New Street but the claims were never against the owners.

Sergeant Smith strongly reiterated the objections over child sexual exploitation were made against the area around New Street and were never made against the father-and-son owners or the business itself.

He said: "The objection was no stain on their character whatsoever."

After the meeting, Sgt Smith said: "We are looking forward to working with the responsible licensees."

New Street is within a cumulative impact area – a zone designated by police which it feels the handing out of alcohol licenses would increase anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder in the area – and police had concerns the retro gaming shop selling alcohol would make problems with groups of youths worse.