Warning to businesses illegally selling alcohol to children

Businesses which illegally sell alcohol to under-age customers have been warned they risk losing their alcohol licence, after a Trading Standards crackdown on a shop in Selsey.

Selsey Convenience Store, formally known as the Rock Shop, had its alcohol licence suspended for up to three months after a member of staff sold cans of cider to a West Sussex Trading Standards child volunteer.

A test purchase was carried out at the store on 23 August last year after Trading Standards had received reports that alcohol had previously been sold to children.

Despite the store displaying Challenge 25 signage around the premises and claiming to operate such policy, a 16-year-old volunteer working under the instruction and supervision of Trading Standards was able to purchase two bottles of raspberry cider without being asked any questions.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “All licensed premises are required to have an age verification policy and it is important staff enforce this by asking for proof of age when necessary.

“West Sussex Trading Standards has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the sale of alcohol to children. I hope this acts as a warning to those retailers who fall foul of the law that they could be putting their business at risk.”

Selsey Convenience Store’s alcohol licence was suspended by Chichester District Council’s licensing sub-committee on 26 January. It also removed the current business’s Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).

Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue, said: “It’s important we all work together to keep our children and communities safe. Cases such as this emphasis the consequences for those businesses which break the law in selling age restricted products to those who are under-age.

“West Sussex Trading Standards will continue to undertake test purchasing exercises with child volunteers across the county to uncover businesses selling age restricted products to children. Anyone found to have broken the law can expect to see their licence suspended or even withdrawn entirely.”

Anyone who believes a shop is selling alcohol, tobacco, vapes or knives to under 18s is asked to report it online to West Sussex Trading Standards: www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSReport.