News item

Under-age sale costs trader more than £1,800

An off-licensee who had previously refused the offer of training by trading standards officers, has been fined £800 for selling alcohol to a 15-year-old customer.

Following a written admission of guilt at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (8), Raghavan Chandran, the owner of Chassi Mini Market, in Broom Road, Shirley, was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court heard that two volunteer test purchasers, aged 15 and acting under the supervision of Croydon Council trading standards officers, selected two cans of lager in the shop last July.

Chandran was behind the counter but, the court was told, conducted the sale at the same time as he held a telephone conversation, breaking off from it only briefly to ask his customers if they required a bag.

The sale was observed by one of the trading standards officers, who then told Chandran that he had acted illegally.

In interview, he confirmed that neither he nor his staff had received any training during his ten-year ownership of the shop, but admitted it had been offered within the preceding year. And he conceded that he had failed to ask the customers to produce evidence of their age.

It was also revealed that the shop’s till was not programmed to prompt the sales assistant to seek age verification, and that the shop had no register in which refused sales could be logged.

Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This case highlights the importance of traders being aware of the laws surrounding their business, and their own responsibilities.
“It also illustrates the value of their accepting the training courses offered by the council’s trading standards department.”