A shop manager has been prosecuted and one of her staff fined, after an underage teenage volunteer was sold alcohol – outside of the shop’s permitted licensing hours.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Trading Standards team carried out a proactive operation at Porth Stores in Station Street, Porth after complaints from the community that alcohol was being sold to the underage.
A 16-year-old volunteer went into the shop in October 2014 and purchased a bottle of WKD Brazilian. The staff member who made this underage sale was given a fixed penalty notice of £90.
The sale was made at 8.13pm, and the premises only has a license to sell alcohol until 8pm.
As a result of the offences, Susmaben Patel, 42, was charged with two offences under the Licensing Act 2003, namely selling alcohol to an underage person and to selling alcohol outside the permitted hours of the premise license.
She admitted both of the charges when she appeared at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 9 July and was fined £135 and ordered to pay costs of £308.80.
She told the court she had previously been a social worker and left this career to open the shop. Her defence told the court how she was of good character and worked exceptionally hard, rarely leaving the shop.
She told the court she was desperately sorry for what happened and assured them it would not happen again. She has reduced the amount of alcohol that is offered for sale and introduced a new training manual. Her son is set to take over the running of the shop.
Paul Mee, Service Director for Public Health and Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This is the latest in a series of prosecutions led by Trading Standards officers who are working to protect young people, and the wider community, from the effects of underage alcohol consumption.
“Licensing laws are in place for a reason and we expect all those who hold licenses to operate within the law and play their part to protect the public, by ensuring they sell alcohol only to those who are old enough to purchase it.
“We are lucky to have a good range of safe, responsible and legal licensed premises in the county borough that work hard to ensure they operate to the standards expected and cases such as this should serve as a reassurance to them and their customers that we support the trade and will deal with those who break the law.”