A 13 year old volunteer went undercover to help Merton Council catch two shops in Merton selling alcohol to minors and the shop keepers have now been successfully prosecuted.
One of Merton Council’s trading standards functions is to enforce the Licensing Act restriction on the sales of alcohol to minors. Last summer a program of ‘test purchases’ was organised in the borough using a volunteer.
Unfortunately two of these ‘test purchases’ resulted in the sale of an alcoholic drink to our volunteer. The following shopkeepers were both found guilty of selling a bottles of Barcardi Breezer and Vodka Reef, alcoholic drinks, to our volunteer:
· Arumugan Sutharsan, of Motspur Park Food and Wine, 352 West Barnes Lane.
· Kandasamy Nagarajah, of Happy Shopper, 97 High Street, Colliers Wood.
Both men are the proprietors and licensees of their respective businesses but Mr Sutharsan was also the actual seller. They both pleaded not guilty to the charges. However Wimbledon Magistrates Court heard how the 13 year old was able to purchase a drink without being challenged and found both Mr Sutharsan and Mr Nagarajah guilty.
The shopkeepers were fined £250 each and costs of £1200 and £600 respectively were awarded to Merton Council. They were further warned that re-appearance in court for a similar offence could result in them loosing their Justice’s Licence, which is required to sell alcohol.
Ian Murrell, Commercial and Trading Standards Manager, said: “The sale of alcohol to children is unacceptable and can lead to anti-social behaviour that affects the whole of our community. We have provided retailers with detailed advice to help them comply with the law and most retailers trade in a very responsible manner. However we will not hesitate to prosecute those that sell alcohol to children.”
Senior Press & PR Officer
London Borough of Merton
020 8545 3327