Littlehampton shop that sold alcohol to 16-year-old child has licence suspended

A Littlehampton shop owner’s alcohol licence has been suspended after selling cider to an underage minor, following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.

The ban comes after a member of staff at Gondals Sussex Ltd, trading as Sussex News, 15b Surrey Street, sold two 500ml bottles of Kopparberg fruit cider to a 16-year-old in November.

A seven-day suspension of Sussex News’ alcohol licence was approved at a meeting of Arun District Council’s licensing sub-committee on Monday (March 7th).

As well as the licence suspension, the committee felt the identified issues of poor management at the shop would be addressed by the removal of Mr Khawar Shahzad as the Designated Premises Supervisor.

Trading Standards officers visited the premises to give advice after receiving reports that disposable e-cigarettes were being sold to children.

But, just two days later, a staff member at the shop sold two bottles of cider to a 16-year-old child volunteer during a test purchase carried out by Trading Standards.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager said: “Staff at Sussex News failed to perform basic age checks to confirm the buyer’s age.

“All licensed premises are required to have an age verification policy in place and it’s important staff are aware what are acceptable forms of identification and when it should be asked for. We strongly recommend retailers to operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy.

“West Sussex Trading Standards has a zero-tolerance approach to the sale of alcohol to children and businesses need to be aware we will always seek a review and revocation of the Premises Licence when there’s evidence alcohol has been sold to a child.

“A licence review can lead to the licence being suspended or revoked and both the seller and the business may still be liable to prosecution.

“We work with businesses to help ensure they comply with the law and we aim to respond to all allegations we receive of restricted products being sold to children by shops in West Sussex.”

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “I’m pleased this irresponsible shopkeeper has been held to account. Traders have a duty of care to young people and there’s no excuse for failing to carry out basic checks, despite repeated warnings.

“This operation forms part of our ongoing commitment to keep people safe from vulnerable situations, working in partnership with Arun District Council and Sussex Police, and I’d like to thank all those involved for their work.”

If you believe a shop is selling alcohol, tobacco or e cigarettes to under 18’s, you can report it online to West Sussex Trading Standards: www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSReport.

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