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Italian restaurant could have license suspended over underage alcohol sales

A popular Italian restaurant and lounge bar in Nottinghamshire could have its licence suspended over concerns about alcohol being sold to teenagers.

Ciao Bella, on Nottingham Road, Mansfield will face a licensing hearing on January 23 after police test visits found alcohol being sold to underage customers.

Two separate visits were made, firstly in September and again in November, and Nottinghamshire Police say no ‘Challenge 25’ ID checks were made.

Written warnings were issued to the licence holder and restaurant manager and fines were served on both occasions.

The force said the test purchases “highlighted poor control measures”, adding it has “no confidence in the management” of the popular venue.

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Ciao Bella, which is an Italian restaurant, has been operating in the town since 2015.

Its neighbouring and connected sister business, the popular bar Ciao Bella Lounge, is covered by the same licence.

However, officers will present a case to councillors next week and will recommend the business alcohol licence be suspended for up to three months.

In documents, Nottinghamshire Police said: “The police have concerns that the management of the premise is undermining the licensing objectives.

“The effect of staff training in relation to alcohol sales demonstrates an ineffective management style and subsequently poses a risk to children.

“Nottinghamshire Police, to rectify the issues surrounding the supply of alcohol to children, is to ask for a suspension of the premise licence for up to three months … with immediate effect.

“This closure will allow sufficient time for [the venue] to train all staff members adequately and put into place stronger policies and procedures to prevent such events from happening again.”

Councillors on the licensing panel will hear the force’s case during next week’s meeting and may opt to accept the suspension recommendation.

However, they could also opt to revoke Ciao Bella’s alcohol licence altogether, make a different decision or take no action at all.

The decision will depend on any defence case put forward by the restaurant during the panel hearing next week.

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