Shop worker fined for selling alcohol to 16-year-old in undercover sting

A BATTLE shop worker has been fined after selling alcohol to an underage teen.

Sussex Police carried out a series of test purchases at off licence premises in Battle and Rye in February.

The aim of the operation, carried out by neighbourhood licensing officer for Rother PC Richard Wilkes, was to identify licensed premises selling alcoholic drinks to children under 18-years-old and to take appropriate action.

During the operation, four premises were visited by a 16-year-old volunteer.

Three of the premises passed the test, asking the youth for age verification and refusing to sell the drink.

But the Co-op in Battle High Street failed and sold alcohol to the 16-year-old. The member of staff was given an £80 fine.

In the event of failed tests, offenders/shopkeepers are either given on-the-spot fines or reported for summons for selling or permitting the sale of alcohol to a person under 18 years of age.

Representatives of the premises concerned would also be required to meet with the local Neighbourhood Policing Inspector and Licensing Officer and expected to implement a range of measures aimed at addressing the problem.

In some cases the local authority may decide to review the premises licence.

Further test purchases are planned in Rother in the coming months.

PC Richard Wilkes said: “Working alongside our partner agencies, throughout the past three years, I have carried out a number of test purchase operations at licensed premises across East Sussex.

“What is clear from these tests is that the incidents of sales of alcohol to people under 18 years of age continues to fall and this is testament to our engagement with local licensees in getting the message across regarding sales of alcohol to children and the impact this can have on our community. Nevertheless, we cannot become complacent as the problem has shifted more towards proxy sales of alcohol, for example where adults are purchasing alcohol on behalf of those under 18 years of age. This, along with children obtaining alcohol from their home addresses either with or without their parents’ knowledge, is of great concern.”

To discuss licensing issues or raise concerns about licensed premises, call PC Wilkes on 01424 456052.