Undercover police operation stops business selling alcohol to underage teenagers

Following an undercover Police operation to stop businesses selling alcohol to underage teenagers, a Tooting store was refused a licence for the second time last month following its reapplication to Merton Council for a new alcohol licence.

As part of the undercover operation, youngsters working with the Police attempted to buy alcohol from the store called Groceries Food and Wine, at 84 Seeley Road. Staff in the store agreed to sell alcoholic beverages to the children even though they were clearly underage.

Groceries, Food and Wine had previously applied to Wandsworth Council for a new licence just weeks after Merton Council members revoked its old licence for selling alcohol to the young people. Members of Merton Council’s Licensing Sub Committee decided to revoke the store’s licence in September but store managers never appealed against the decision – which they can do within 21 days of the licence being removed. Instead they applied for a new licence from Wandsworth Council, even though Tooting is not in the Wandsworth area.

Following notification to Wandsworth Council and the shop, that only Merton Council could decide whether or not to grant the store a new licence, Groceries Food and Wine made a new application to Merton. Representations regarding the new application were made by the council’s trading standards officers and the Metropolitan Police.

Councillor David Simpson, cabinet member for partnerships and community safety, said: ‘The protection of young people under 18 from the sale of alcohol is extremely important and the decision of the Licensing Sub Committee shows the determination both this Council and the Metropolitan Police have in stamping out sales of alcohol to those who are underage.’