Underage booze shopkeeper fined

A SHOPKEEPER who continually sold alcohol to underage youngsters has been fined almost �4,000.

Bhupinder Mann, who runs the Premier Store in House Lane Arlesey, was prosecuted at Bedford Magistrates Court on August 17.

The court heard how Mr Mann sold alcohol to children on two occasions in September and October 2009 despite two previous warnings.

Following each incident he was given advice from Trading Standards officers about preventing underage sales but this was ignored and Mann continued to sell high strength alcohol to children.

Despite not attending the hearing, Mann was found guilty of two charges and was fined at total of �3,799 which included a �15 victim surcharge.

Cllr David McVicar, portfolio holder for safer communities and healthier lifestyles at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “I am pleased to see that the courts have taken such a strong stance on the actions of this licensees and I hope that this prosecution goes to show that the sale of alcohol to youngsters will not be tolerated.

“Mr Mann was given ample opportunities by the council to stop his unlawful activities and put in place measures to ensure that children were not served, but he decided to reject this advice.

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“Central Bedfordshire Council invests a great deal of time assisting licensee’s to prevent such sales from happening in the first place and in turn will not tolerate the sale of alcohol to underage youngsters and we will investigate any allegations that are made against licensees.”

The prosecution was the result of a series of operations carried out around the Arlesey and Stotfold area by Trading Standards officers following complaints of underage drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Mann was unavailable for comment.