Off-licence fined for underage sale

An employee of a Clapton grocery store and off-licence pleaded guilty to a charge of selling alcohol to minors at Thames Magistrates Court on 11 April. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £300.

Mr Aktas, of the store in Southwold Road, failed to ask for identification and sold bottles of alcohol to two young police cadets during a routine covert exercise last month.

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Hackney Council’s Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration said: “These regular operations carried out by Hackney Trading Standards in partnership with the police are necessary to catch the dishonourable traders who knowingly sell alcohol to children under 18. Responsible sellers need to train their staff and advise them to ask for identification from purchasers that appear under 21, otherwise there could be serious consequences.”

Officers from Hackney Trading Standards were assisted by police and their cadets during a routine covert underage test purchasing exercises in local retail premises. Cadets were under 18 attempted to purchase alcohol. Three premises were visited on 13 March 2007 and two made sales. The seller Mr Aktas of one shop trading as food store off-license of 19 Southwold Road, E5 failed to ask for identification and sold two bottles of Smirnoff ice to the cadets. The seller and the director of Gifton Ltd were interviewed. Mr Aktas appeared in Thames magistrates’ court on 11 April and pleaded guilty. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £300.

Shops should be regularly training their staff and advise them to ask for identification from those purchasers that appear under 21. If responsible adult attempts to purchase alcohol on behalf of a child under 18 the trader can refuse to make the sale. There are advice packs available from trading standards to assist employers to inform staff of their responsibilities and make them more vigilant when selling age restricted products. As staff, designated premise supervisors and companies all run the risk of prosecution for not checking identification before selling. Misuse of alcohol in underage children can cause premature liver and kidney damage, as well as increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour in the local community.