Underage drink sting catches five pubs and off licences selling alcohol to 16-year-olds

Posted On 30 Jul 2014 at 1:36 pm
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An undercover operation to catch out off licences and pubs believed to be selling alcohol to underage children found five willing to sell to 16-year-olds.

The Co-Op in Longridge Avenue, Saltdean, Sphere Express in Cowley Drive, Woodingdean and the convenience store at 6 Lewes Road in Brighton all sold alcohol to 16-year-olds.

The Black Horse in Rottingdean sold booze to two 16-year-olds.

All these were given penalty notices by Brighton police’s licensing unit. Another pub found selling to the teenagers was not named as further action is being taken against it.

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Shailess Mangukiya, manager of Sphere Express, said: “All the staff are going to be given one-to-one training, myself too, so it doesn’t happen again.

“We will also be putting up Challenge 25 posters, and asking for ID from anyone who looks under 25.”

Ketan Patel, who runs the Lewes Road convenience store, said this was the first time the store had been fined, which came just days before he and his wife stopped running the shop.

He said: “The police have done a good job and they have given the fine to the chap who served the teenagers.

“We take it seriously and that is also the reason why we don’t serve high strength alcohol. ”

A spokeswoman for the Co-Op said: “The Co-operative Group takes the issue of age-restricted sales extremely seriously, and has robust in-store procedures and systems to prevent under-age sales.

“Our instructions to staff clearly state that any potential purchaser of age-restricted products who appears to be under the age of 25 years should be asked to provide proof that they are 18 or over. If none can be provided then the sale must be refused.

“Regrettably, it would appear that a member of staff at the store may not have been as vigilant in implementing our procedures as we would wish. All staff at our Saltdean store are being retrained on age-restricted sales.”

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