At Retail Express, we speak to an endless number of independent retailers who are shining examples of how to run a great convenience store.

Whether they operate in a 450sq ft store or in a 3,000sq ft store; in a rural location or city centre, they strive to ensure their shop, and in turn, the convenience channel, stands out from the crowd.

The great stories we hear make stories that counteract that hard work, like our front page this week, hard to swallow.

Convenience stores are bombarded with legislation, but the red tape that should be protecting their business and the reputation of the channel – in this case, alcohol licensing – isn’t working.

Dodgy retailers need to be blacklisted on a system that covers the whole of the UK

Until the industry, police and Government come together to ensure that retailers caught flouting the law – whether it’s employing illegal workers, serving age-restricted products to children or trading illicit goods – receive no support, a lot of the great work by legitimate convenience stores will be tarnished.

The reintroduction of simple sections on alcohol licence applications that require people to admit to any former breaches would be the start of that process.

Dodgy retailers need to be blacklisted on a system that covers the whole of the UK, so they can’t just move to another county, open a store and continue to break the law.