A business with a history of selling alcohol to underage people was fined yesterday at Ipswich Magistrates Court, after two stores were caught three times on two occasions in a 12 month period.
Representatives of Martin McColl Ltd’s Great Cornard and Wickham Market stores appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court as the shops had continued to sell alcohol to young people despite warnings and interventions by Suffolk Trading Standards.
The company pleaded guilty to all three counts under section 146 Licensing Act- selling alcohol to underage persons which carries a maximum £5,000 fine.
The Wickham Market branch was fined £6000 for two incidents whilst the Great Cornard branch was fined £4000.
McColl Ltd was also ordered to pay £1,618.63 in costs and a £200 victim surcharge.
The Magistrates took into consideration the guilty pleas, and the fact that McColl Ltd had cooperated with the investigation.
The company have also reviewed and updated their procedures since the sales took place.
One of the aggravating factors of the case was that one of the sellers was only 16 years old and had been using a manager’s till access code at the time of the sales.
Councillor Sarah Stamp, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said: “Suffolk Trading Standards received intelligence that there had been numerous occasions where underage sales had taken place at the Wickham Market and Great Cornard sites and acted accordingly.
“Retailers know the law and that it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18 years old. Trading Standards advice is to operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy so anyone who looks under 25 should be asked for ID.
“It is important that action is taken against traders who sell alcohol to children; in particular, those traders who repeatedly break these laws, which are in place to protect these young people associated health risks that underage drinking has on young people.”
Anyone with information about illegal sales of alcohol, tobacco, knives, butane gas or other age-restricted products can inform Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.