Sutton Police officers and Sutton Council officials combined during the October - December 08 period to visit 239 licensed premises across the borough to ‘test’ whether they are carrying out illegal sales of alcohol, cigarettes, fireworks and knives to underage customers.
The premises visited during these ‘test purchases’ include off-licences, public houses, convenience stores and other stores.
As a result, Sutton police officers have:
· Prosecuted one shop for illegally selling a knife to an underage customer, and have given police cautions to two shop workers at two High Street stores for similar offences
· Issued 12, £80 Penalty Notices for illegal sales of alcohol.
In addition, Sutton Trading Standards officers are now investigating:
· Seven retailers following sales of cigarettes from vending machines
· Two retailers following sales of fireworks.
Sutton Police licensing Inspector Colin Baker said: “The vast majority of retailers are complying with the law but we are determined to prosecute those that break the law. We are looking for 100 per cent compliance from licensed premises to support local communities who can suffer the after affects of irresponsible trading.”
Councillor Graham Tope, Executive member for Community Safety on Sutton Council, commented: “The council’s Trading Standards officers work closely with the police on test purchasing to make sure local retailers know the law. Businesses should know that the council, police and the courts will come down hard on anyone who breaks the law as we continue to make Sutton one of London’s safest boroughs.”
Police licensing officers and council Trading Standards officers carry out visits to shops, pubs and clubs to make owners and staff are aware of the regulations and consequences of making illegal sales.
Shops and stores are required to challenge any customers that look under the age of 21 to prove that they are aged over 18, such as by showing a passport, photo driving licence or Home Office pass card. If identity cannot be produced then sales should be refused.