Under-age booze sales prove costly

ALLOWING alcohol to be sold to underage customers proved to be a costly mistake by licencees of shops in Comet country. They were caught in a sting operation mounted by Hertfordshire Trading Standards. Officers conducted a test purchasing campaign with th

ALLOWING alcohol to be sold to underage customers proved to be a costly mistake by licencees of shops in Comet country.

They were caught in a sting operation mounted by Hertfordshire Trading Standards.

Officers conducted a test purchasing campaign with the help of the police and underage volunteers in May last year.

Four shops broke the law, and justice was meted out at Stevenage Magistrates' Court last week.


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Lawrence Mayes, formerly the licensee for Bottle Boutique, Queen Street, Hitchin, was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £125. He has sold the business since the incident.

Sucha Singh Gill, licensee of Gill's Convenience Stores, Mobbsbury Way, Stevenage, was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £125.

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Gurjinder Singh, licensee of Kandola Food Stores, Oaks Cross, Stevenage, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £125 costs.

Ganesalingiam Velventhan was fined £80 and ordered to pay £50 costs after selling alcohol to a young person at Budget Food Stores (Londis), London Road, Baldock. The case relating to Nadarajah Manran, the licensee for the premises, was adjourned to 2pm on January 31.

None of the licencees sold the alcohol themselves, but are responsible for the actions of their staff.

Keith Emsall, county council executive member for community safety and culture, said: "Underage volunteers have once again helped us bring to book licensees and staff who are failing to meet their legal responsibilities.

"It is hugely disappointing that we must continue to take action because of underage sales but I hope that the stiff fines handed out by the courts begin to act as a deterrent.

"Retailers can be in no doubt that we will continue these operations and our officers will not hesitate to prosecute offenders. Alcohol abuse among young people is a growing issue and we must do everything we can to reduce it."

The police and trading standards are also warning that repeat and persistent offenders may have their licenses reviewed and possibly revoked using new powers under the Licensing Act.

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