Beer and wine shop surrenders licence after selling alcohol to under 18s

Borough Hall, Bedford
Borough Hall, Bedford

The owners of an off-licence in Bedford have voluntarily surrendered their licence to sell alcohol after being caught selling alcohol to under 18s.

Duchroth Wines, of 89 Midland Road, was investigated by Bedford Borough Council’s trading standards team, working with Police Licensing Officers, which sought to seize the shop’s license following underage sales test operations.

The owners surrended their licence the day before they were due at a hearing,last Wednesday (June 3).

Rob Sparkes of Bedfordshire Police Licensing Department said: “This is another excellent example of partnership working between Bedfordshire Police Licensing Department and the Trading Standards team at Bedford Borough Council.

“We fully support Trading Standards in its test purchasing activities and together we are determined to protect young people and the local community from the harmful effects of young people accessing alcohol from licensed premises.

“We will continue to test purchase premises where intelligence suggests there is a problem, be it specifically at the premises or in the surrounding area, and those failing these can expect enforcement action to be taken as a result. In surrendering the Licence the owners of this store clearly recognised the seriousness of the offences.”

The store had originally failed two test purchases by selling alcohol to test purchasers under 18 years of age in August and November 2014. This resulted in Trading Standards applying for a review of the premises licence in January 2015.

Regulatory Services and Bedfordshire Police had suggested the implementation of certain procedures in relation to staff training, age verification and product prompts at the point of sale. However, when a further test purchase was carried out on 30th April, staff at the store again sold alcohol to the test purchasers.

Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services Cllr Colleen Atkins said: “This case has identified the selling of alcohol to people who are under the legal age of 18. I congratulate Bedfordshire Police Licensing Department and the Trading Standards team at Bedford Borough Council on achieving this excellent result.

“The effective partnership work carried out between Regulatory Services and Bedfordshire Police has resulted in intervention at a premises that was disregarding its legal and moral duties to the wider community. This shows partnership working is key to the success of protecting the public, particularly the young and vulnerable.”

She added: “I urge the public to report any suspicions they may have of the sale of alcohol and tobacco to people who are underage.”

Anyone with information relating to the sale of alcohol or tobacco to anyone underage should contact Bedford Borough Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards service on 01234 718 099, or phone Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to them on 07786 200011.