A Chorleywood convenience store has had its licence to sell alcohol revoked after it was caught selling alcohol to an underage shopper for a second time.
The licensing sub-committee at Three Rivers District Council made the decision on Monday January 21 to strip Premier in Lower Road, Chorleywood of its permit to sell alcohol between 8am and 11pm.
The store was caught out by a test purchase operation conducted in September 2012 by police and Hertfordshire Trading Standards. During the operation, a 16-year-old volunteer was sold a bottle of cider and no proof of age was requested by Premier.
Premier license holder Imran Sarwar has previously been brought before the council’s licensing sub-committee under similar circumstances and received a two-month ban on selling alcohol in October 2012, relating to another underage sale in September 2011.
The store remained closed during the period of the ban.
The latest test purchase prompted a second hearing into the convenience store at which councillors heard evidence from police, Trading Standards and representations from members of the public in relation to underage sales and anti-social behaviour after which they decided to revoke the store’s licence to sell alcohol.
Lucy Miles, licensing and anti-social behaviour officer from Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: "The sale of alcohol to children can cause significant damage to children and the local community.
"It is the responsibility of the licence holder and the designated premises supervisor to ensure that an age verification scheme is operated and enforced. "In this case it was not and it is important that all licence holders recognise the responsibility they hold in selling alcohol."
Councillor Les Mead, vice-chairman of Three Rivers District Council's licensing committee, said: "Having heard and given due consideration to all the evidence to the statutory guidance given in October 2012 and in particular the representations of the police, trading standards and the objectors, the sub-committee also considered and gave due weight to the Premier's response given by Mr Imran Sarwar's response by his solicitor.
"The sub-committee decided to revoke the premises' licence. The decision is based on the licensing objections and in particular protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder.
"The sub-committee accepts the breaches were serious after two test purchases had been undertaken which both failed."
Richard Thake, Hertfordshire County Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: "It is very disappointing that some licensees continue to ignore the law regarding the sale of alcohol to underage customers.
"This case serves as a warning that such practices will not be tolerated.
"Anyone selling age-restricted goods is encouraged to have a 'Challenge 25' policy - if a customer looks under 25 then they should be asked to prove that they are 18 or over.
"We encourage the public to report any suspected underage sales to trading standards or the Police."
Mr Sarwar was not available for comment at the time of publication.