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Ilkeston retailer fined for selling alcohol to underage person

Published: 12 March 2024

An Ilkeston shopkeeper and business have been fined nearly £600 and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge after admitting to selling lager to an underage person.

Hamant Patel, 63, who runs Hazeldene Stores at 107 Green Lane, Ilkeston, appeared before Southern Derbyshire Magistrates on Monday (11 March 2024), to face a charge of selling alcohol to an underage person, contrary to the Licensing Act 2003. The business faced the same charge.

The successful prosecution was brought by our Trading Standards following an investigation by officers on the team.

The court heard that test purchase exercises were carried out at the store by trading standards officers in January 2023 during which a sale of 4 cans of Stella Artois Lager (4.6% alcohol by volume), was made to a volunteer who was under 18 years of age. No age or ID checks were carried out at the time of the sale. The person’s real age was 15 years and five months.

The offence occurred despite a previous test purchase conducted by Trading Standards officers in July 2022 when a sale was made to a child under the age of 18. Following the first test purchase Patel was provided with comprehensive advice and guidance from trading standards officers.

Magistrates heard that alcohol licensing conditions were not observed in that there was an absence of staff training records, a ‘patchy’ alcohol sales refusals log and also that shop CCTV was not working.

Magistrates fined Patel, whose address is Hazeldene  Stores, and the business a total of £580, with an order to pay £1,345.75 costs and a £232 victim surcharge.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:

“Our Trading Standards officers work incredibly hard to tackle underage sales of alcohol and do their best to follow up any complaints of traders breaking the law.

“In this case, despite being given comprehensive guidance and advice to avoid falling foul of the law this trader was caught doing exactly that, which led to this prosecution.

“The law is very clear on underage sales for good reasons, mainly the safety of young people, and we are very grateful for vigilant members of the public who alert us to traders they suspect of flouting it.

“This is just one in a number of successful underage sales cases we have brought and sends out a clear message to traders who think the law doesn’t apply to them.”

People wanting to report any suspicions of the sale of age restricted products to young people should report them to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline tel: 0808 2231133.