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    Wolverhampton store caught selling vodka and vape to 15-year-old girl

    The Kwik Save store in Long Knowle Lane, Wednesfield (Photo: Wolverhampton Council via LDRS)

    By: Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter

    A convenience store and off-licence in a suburb of Wolverhampton could lose its licence after being caught selling vodka and a vape to a 15-year-old girl.

    Kwik Save on Long Knowle Lane, Wednesfield, was one of several shops targeted in an underage sales test operation conducted by Trading Standards after officers received an anonymous tip-off that the outlet was selling high-strength illicit e-cigarettes or vapes to children under 18.

    The store, which also serves as the local post office, is now due to undergo a review of its premises licence next Wednesday (October 11), following an application made by Trading Standards District Officer Gurdip Gill.

    In a letter to the council’s statutory licensing sub-committee, Mr Gill said: “Kwik Save was included in an organised underage sales test purchase exercise on August 16, in which retailers in Wolverhampton were tested in relation to whether they were carrying out required verification checks on customers who attempted to buy age-restricted products.

    Wolverhampton store caught selling vodka and vape to 15-year-old girl
    The vape and vodka drink sold to the 15-year-old volunteer at the Kwik Save store in Wednesfield. (Photo: Wolverhampton Council via LDRS)

    “A 15-year-old authorised volunteer on behalf of the council went into the premises and was sold an age-restricted Crystal Pro 600 puffs Blueberry Raspberry Cherry flavour vape and a 250ml can of Smirnoff Vodka and Cola at 5% ABV.

    “The total price came to £8.50 and three members of staff were involved in the sale of these age-restricted products to the child volunteer. It was subsequently established that there was a prompt on the till in relation to age-restricted products.

    “In spite of this, no attempt whatsoever was made by any of the shop staff to verify the age of the child volunteer or to ask them for any form of identification. The sale was witnessed by a council compliance officer who was in the shop at the time,” he added.

    “After leaving the shop, the volunteer handed the products they had been sold to a Trading Standards officer, who duly placed them into evidence bags and sealed the bags. The volunteer was refused age-restricted products at other shops that were visited that day.

    “A Trading Standards officer and a compliance officer went into the shop to discuss the underage sale that had taken place. They spoke to a female shop assistant who told them that temporary staff had been brought into the shop, as the store owner Sandeep Singh had been called away to deal with a family emergency.

    “She rang Mr Singh who then spoke to the Trading Standards officer and claimed that he had recently taken over the business and was waiting for a personal licence from Walsall Council, as he had just completed the course. A number of other contraventions were also found at the premises,” said Mr Gill.

    Trading Standards has recommended that the licensing sub-committee considers suspending the premises licence for three months to allow for training and the addition of robust conditions in relation to any other matters.

    Representations concerning the licence review have also been made by public health and West Midlands Police, as well as the council’s licensing bosses. All relevant parties have been invited to attend next week’s hearing when committee members will make a decision on the matter.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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