News item

Shop and owners fined for under-age alcohol sales in Kent

An investigation by Kent Trading Standards has resulted in convictions for two brothers and their shop for selling alcohol and tobacco to under-age customers.

Erna Limited, trading as Capitol Express, of Snowden Parade, Maidstone was convicted of selling cigarettes and alcohol to young people following an operation in March 2013. The director, Ferhat Ok, and Bulant Ok, who physically sold the items, were also fined for the offences.

KCC Trading Standards undertook a test purchase operation using two volunteers, aged 15 and 16 years old, following repeated reports that the business was selling both alcohol and tobacco to young people under the legal age of 18. 

Trading Standards manager Richard Strawson said: “Despite previous repeated visits to advise the business of the importance of checking and verifying the age of people buying age-restricted products, Bulant Ok sold a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and a bottle of WKD Blue alcohol without asking for age or identification.” 

The company and Ferhat Ok were also fined for failing to display the required notices on two occasions, warning that tobacco products would not be supplied to people under 18, despite being advised to do so.

Together with costs, the company was fined a total of £2,850 with a similar amount to be paid by Ferhat Ok. Bulant Ok was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £1,175.

Following the sales, KCC Trading Standards also applied to Maidstone Council for a review of the licence to sell alcohol at the premises and it suspended Capitol Express’ licence for three months in June.

Mike Hill, KCC Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “I hope that this conviction sends out a clear message that retailers must take responsibility for their sales of age restricted products. The health and social implications of irresponsibly supplying tobacco and alcohol products to those under the age of 18 have been well documented and I am pleased that Trading Standards is active in ensuring incidents such as this are dealt with appropriately.”


Notes to editors:

The sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 is an offence under Section 146 of the Licensing Act 2003. The sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 is an offence under Section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (as amended) 

It is an offence under the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991 (as amended) to fail to display the statutory A3 notice concerning sales of tobacco

KCC Trading Standards is a responsible authority under the Licensing Act 2003 and in such a capacity can make a submission to the licensing authority, in this case, Maidstone Borough Council, for a licence review where they deem it appropriate in promoting one or more of the licensing objectives. The relevant licensing objective is the protection of children from harm.

For further information contact Murray Evans at Kent County Council Press Office on 01622 694177 or email


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DATE: 17 September 2013