Selsey convenience store which sold bottles of Kopparberg to child has its licence suspended

The Selsey Convenience Store has Credit: PA/Wires

A convenience store in West Sussex has had its premises licence suspended for three months after selling two bottles of Kopparberg cider to a child.

The Selsey Convenience Store, which used to be known as The Rock Shop, was caught out in a Trading Standards alcohol test purchase in August.

During a meeting members of Chichester District Council's alcohol & entertainment licensing sub-committee agreed the shop should have its licence suspended and Sanjakumar Patel should be removed as designated premises supervisor.

A spokesman for Trading Standards gave details of a number of incidents including the sale of a bottle of vodka to a 15-year-old girl who used her older sister's provisional driver's licence as ID.

He added: "This incident resulted in paramedics having to attend to [the girl] at a fireworks event in Selsey."

The meeting was told that a number of other shops were tested on the same day as the Selsey Convenience Store but none of them sold alcohol to the children and all asked to see ID.

The spokesman did not accept that the sales were down to 'human error' or 'a mistake', adding: "Intelligence received by West Sussex County Council Trading Standards suggests that restricted products were being sold to children on a regular basis.

"There was, in our view, a disregard of the licensing objectives - the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder."

In a statement to the committee, Mr Patel said that between April 2020 and October 2022, staff had refused to sell to minors 59 times and had been commended by Trading Standards after refusing to sell to a child during a previous test buy.

Trading Standards, though, pointed out that the test buy had been organised following a complaint that a vape had been sold to a 12-year-old boy.

The spokesman said the sale of vapes to minors was becoming 'a significant problem' and shared information from Sussex Police that parents had been told it was 'common knowledge amongst local schoolchildren that this shop readily sold age-restricted products to children'.

The meeting heard that Mr Patel is also the company director and designated premises supervisor for Premier Chichester Road, in Bersted, which is also under investigation after a child bought two cans of pre-mixed Pink Gin & Tonic.

In a statement, Mr Patel said: "As a parent myself, I recognise the importance of protecting children from harm in all circumstances, including where they knowingly seek to deceive me or my staff with false identification.

"I do not accept - and I think my refusals register bears this out - that the premises are a soft touch.

"Indeed I think many other outlets in the area would agree that there are some youths bent upon fooling shopkeepers into breaking the law, and that the help and guidance of the authorities are to be welcomed in performing their duties."

The committee agreed the Selsey Convenience Store should have its licence suspended so that a new designated premises supervisor could be brought in to bring the business processes, training and record keeping up to the required level.

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