Release date: 29 November 2022
A warning has again been given to West Sussex businesses who sell alcohol without asking for proof of age, after a Storrington shop had its alcohol licence suspended for selling alcohol to a child.
Pricewatch Ltd, trading as ‘Power’ petrol station, Old Mill Drive Storrington, has received a 12-week suspension of its licence for selling alcohol to a West Sussex Trading Standards child volunteer.
Trading Standards officers had previously visited the store in April 2022 to give advice after receiving reports that vapes and other age restricted products were being sold to children.
On Tuesday 31 May a member of staff at the store sold four cans of lager to a 16-year-old child who had volunteered to take part in a test purchase operation by Trading Standards.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Despite us having visited the store to raise concerns about underage sales, a member of staff still sold alcohol to our child volunteer.
“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 operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy and support their staff to follow it.
“West Sussex Trading Standards has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the sale of alcohol to children and where we have sufficient evidence to show this has taken place, we will seek a review of the business’s alcohol licence with the aim of having the licence suspended or revoked.
“I hope this case sends out a strong message to retailers that there are serious consequences, which could put their business at risk, if they flout the law”.
In September this year West Sussex Trading Standards submitted an application for a licence review.
The suspension of Pricewatch Ltd’s alcohol licence and removal of the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) was determined at a meeting of Horsham District Council’s licensing sub-committee last week (23 November).
Suspension of the licence is due to come into effect just before Christmas, at which time the sale of alcohol must cease for 12 weeks.
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. Trading Standards will continue to respond to allegations of age restricted products being sold to children by shops in West Sussex, so in the run up to Christmas I strongly encourage all businesses who sell age restricted products to use this time to make sure they have good age verification checks in place.
“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. Disappointingly, eight further shops were visited recently and of those, four sold alcohol to our child volunteer.”
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.