Thousands of retailers could be breaching their alcohol licence agreement without realising it, an industry expert has warned.

Speaking at the NFRN’s annual conference last week, Gill Sherratt, founder and director of consultancy Licensing Matters, said every alcohol licence issued by a local authority is linked to the floor plan of the store submitted at the time of application.

“A lot of retailers don’t realise your floor plan is part of your application and if you move so much as one shelf your licence is invalid,” she said.

“Councils often don’t send out the floor plans when they send out the licences to save money on printing, so people don’t know it’s a criminal offence to change things and not notify them.”

Narinder Randhawa, of Randhawa News in Birmingham, said: “I am horrified by the idea so many members could be breaking their alcohol licences. This needs to be communicated to them as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for the NFRN told RN a warning will be issued to all members as soon as possible.