Police in Brighton and Hove have prosecuted a shop worker and suspended the alcohol licences of two stores after they were caught selling alcohol to underage drinkers.
Kalyani Patel, 55, of Barcombe Road in Brighton, was fined after selling alcohol to an underage volunteer as part of Operation Teepee, which carries out test purchases at licensed premises.
Patel pleaded guilty to selling alcohol to a person aged under 18 while working at Wild Park Local in Barcombe Road, fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £34 victim surcharge. It was the second time she had failed a Teepee test.
Wild Park Local and Moonlight, in Church Road, Hove, both failed the Teepee checks by serving underage teenagers on more than one occasion.
At a Licensing Panel hearing on March 2, Wild Park Local’s alcohol licence was suspended for one month to allow the licence holder to put preventative measures in place, including a robust staff training programme.
An electronic system will also be installed on the tills requiring staff members involved in the sale of alcohol to confirm that a customer is believed to be over 25 years old, or that ID has been provided.
The store was warned a further breach of licence conditions would likely see its licence withdrawn.
Moonlight’s licence has been suspended for two weeks to allow for refresher training and changes to be made based on conditions added to the store’s licence.
Extra conditions include all alcohol products to be visible to staff members and alcohol fridges to be fitted with a buzzer to alert when they are opened.
An electronic system will also be installed on the tills in the same way as Wild Park Local, and an external company must be employed to carry out test purchases – the results of which will be available to Sussex Police and Trading Standards.
All refusals of alcohol must also be recorded and external company employed to deliver training to all customer-facing staff about the sale of alcohol, with refresher training to take place every six months.
Licensing Officer Hannah Staplehurst said: “The sale of alcohol to underage drinkers will absolutely not be tolerated in Brighton and Hove, and we will always work with premises to educate and put measures in place to stop repeat occurrences.
“The conditions applied to licences at the latest hearings show that we are willing to engage with licence holders, but multiple breaches will result in alcohol licences being revoked.
“Through Operation Teepee, our Licensing Team will continue to carry out unannounced checks across the city to make sure licence holders and staff are aware of their responsibilities.”