July 24 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, May 10, 2014
A convenience store is on the brink of having its drinks licence suspended after councillors heard it sold alcohol to teenagers.
Broadland District Council has agreed to stop The Corner Shop, in Constitution Hill, Old Catton from selling alcohol for 30 days. The shop owner has 21 days to appeal against the decision before it comes into force.
The council’s licensing sub-committee took the decision after hearing that alcohol had been sold to youngsters aged 15 and 16.
The committee heard that officers from Trading Standards had warned the owner of the shop three times about selling alcohol to children before carrying out its own test purchasing operation in April last year.
On that occasion a 15-year-old was sold alcohol by licence holder and designated premises supervisor Kulasingham Shanthakumar. At the time he was issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice for the offence.
In November last year, further reports of alcohol being sold to teenagers was received by Norfolk Trading Standards and in January they sent a 16-year-old into the shop who was also sold alcohol by Mr Shanthakumar.
An investigation followed and Mr Shanthakumar was interviewed and cautioned.
Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards applied to Broadland District Council for a review of the premises licence on the grounds that Mr Shanthakumar had failed to take adequate steps at the premises to prevent crime and disorder and protect children from harm.
Mr Shanthakumar said he was talking to his solicitor about whether to appeal against the decision. He said he had sold the alcohol at a time when he was stressed because of family issues.
The committee also resolved to apply an additional five conditions to the premises licence, including the adoption of a “Challenge 25” policy, so all customers that appear to be under the age of 25 have to provide valid proof of age before they are able to buy alcohol.
Katryn Harris, from Norfolk Trading Standards, welcomed the licensing committee’s decision. She said: “This decision highlights that selling alcohol to children is not acceptable. The illegal purchase and consumption of alcohol by minors impacts on the health, educational attainment, employment prospects and propensity for crime of young people.
“We work closely with our partners to ensure that retailers are complying with the law. We act on information received from the general public in order to conduct checks on premises to eradicate the sale and supply of alcohol to children.”
PC Jeremy Brown, of Norfolk Constabulary’s licensing regulation team, said: “Norfolk Constabulary works closely with partners in relation to the responsible selling of alcohol and we hope this decision will help deter others who may seek to sell alcohol to children.
“Officers will continue to tackle such breaches by continuing to conduct operations with Norfolk Trading Standards to target those involved in such practices.”
Anyone with information about the sale of age restricted goods such as alcohol or tobacco to children should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.