31st May 2023

Zero tolerance on underage alcohol

West Sussex Trading Standards is taking a zero-tolerance approach to the sale of age-restricted products to children following a spate of underage alcohol sales.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

Retailers in West Sussex are being reminded of the serious consequences of selling alcohol to children following several cases of shops being caught making underage alcohol sales.

Justin Retail in Bognor Regis recently had its alcohol licence suspended for two months by West Sussex Trading Standards after it sold alcohol to teenagers and will be subject to further licensing conditions. Sussex News in Littlehampton had its alcohol licence suspended last year after it sold two bottles of cider to a 16-year-old, while Clifton Food and Wine in Worthing also had its alcohol licence suspended after selling alcohol to local children.

The Power petrol station in Storrington received a 12-week suspension of its licence for selling alcohol to a West Sussex Trading Standards child volunteer; Selsey Convenience Store had its alcohol licence suspended for three months in February after selling cider to a child; and the Choices of Horsham had its alcohol licence suspended for one month after selling pink gin to a child.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to the sale of alcohol to children and where we have sufficient evidence to show this has taken place, we will seek a review of the business’s alcohol licence with the aim of having the licence suspended or revoked. This is in addition to facing a criminal investigation for breaches of underage sales legislation.”

Cllr Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue, said: “The Council is sending a strong message that businesses found to be selling age-restricted products to children risk losing their licences and potentially their livelihoods. In addition to having their licences suspended or revoked, businesses may also face prosecution under criminal law. This upholds the commitment in our council plan to keep people safe from vulnerable situations.”

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