A shop owner in Walsall has been fined £1200 after it was found selling alcohol to a child under 16, following a test purchasing exercise carried out by Walsall Council's Trading Standards.
Booze Corner in Lichfield Road, Willenhall was visited by a 14-year-old volunteer in November 2017, who was instructed by officers to try to buy tobacco and alcohol. The child was sold 4 cans of John Smith's beer and a packet of 20 Benson & Hedges cigarettes.
The seller of the goods, Mr Sorinder Singh, who is also a director of the company that owns the store, appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court last month to answer charges against the Licensing Act 2003 and the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
Mr Singh and the company, Booze Corner Ltd, pleaded guilty to the charges. He was back in court yesterday (Thursday 6 July) for sentencing, he was fined £180, a £30 victim surcharge, and £692 costs. Booze Corner Ltd was fined £1200, a £170 victim surcharge, along with costs of £692.
For the prosecution, Mr Dominic Patouchas said that Mr Singh and the company appeared to have a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude to underage sales with no recorded staff training, and no steps in place to prevent such sales. Mr Singh was visited by Trading Standards earlier in 2017 and advised on underage sales and told that he and other staff must ask for ID if in doubt about a purchaser’s age.
On this occasion, although Mr Singh asked the age of the volunteer and was told ‘18’, he did not ask for ID to prove this.
In mitigation, Mr Singh said that there had been two deaths in the family shortly before the date of the sale and this had effected his behaviour.
Mr Singh had been prosecuted in 2014 following the sale of cigarettes to a 14 year old at the same store.
After hearing the case, the Magistrates told Mr Singh that further breaches are likely to result in him losing his personal licence.
Councillor Garry Perry, portfolio holder for community, leisure and culture said: "This should serve as a warning to other traders that we will not tolerate anyone trading irresponsibly but will always protect the interests of children and the community from harm."