Licence holders at two off licences have been fined after being caught selling alcohol to under-age children, following an operation by Hillingdon Council.
The shop assistants who sold the alcohol at each store were also fined, after being witnessed making the sales by plain-clothed officers from the council’s trading standards team, a court has heard.
Vipulbhai Patel, licence holder of Shree News in Salisbury Road, Eastcote, admitted selling alcohol to a minor and sales assistant Umesh Patel was found guilty in his absence of the same charge, at a hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on 11 July. Vipulbhai Patel was ordered to pay a fine of £293, victim surcharge of £117 and prosecution costs of £416.25. Umesh Patel was ordered to pay a fine of £440, surcharge of £176 and prosecution costs of £416.25, stated the council on Tuesday (25).
In a separate hearing at the same court, also on 11 July, the licence holder and sales assistant of Hillingdon News & Booze, Ryefield Avenue, Hillingdon, were both sentenced for the same offence.
Licence holder Sadruddin Rupani and shop assistant Phillip Clarke had each admitted the charge in a plea by post. Rupani was ordered to pay a fine of £293, victim surcharge of £34 and prosecution costs of £446. Clarke was ordered to pay a fine of £293, surcharge of £34 and prosecution costs of £446.
In both hearings the court was told the council conducted test purchases, both on 28 June, using a 16-year-old shopper. In each case, a bottle of alcoholic drink was sold without the teenager being asked for identification or challenged over their age.
Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We’re committed to creating strong and safe communities where people can expect honesty and integrity from their local businesses and where young people can be protected from harm.
“Licence holders in our borough, and those under their charge, will always be expected to uphold the law and work to expected requirements. It’s disappointing that these stores have fallen below the level we’d like, but this great work by our trading standards team highlights an ongoing issue we’re determined to stamp out.”