Off licence proprietor prosecuted following underage alcohol sales
The operator of a Barry off licence has been fined more than £2,500 for selling alcohol underage and licencing offences following a successful prosecution by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
10 January 2023
Shared Regulatory Services, which carries out trading standards and other functions for the Cardiff Bridgend and Vale local authority areas, brought a case against Chiragkumar Patel.
In December 2021 he was running Shreeji Stores on Coldbrook Road East in the town when, in response to parental complaints, a Trading Standards Officer visited accompanied by 15 and16-year-old volunteers.
The volunteers approached the counter, where Patel was working, and attempted to buy a box of fruit cider priced at £12.99.
Patel asked how old one of the volunteers was and, on being told 15, explained a person had to be at least 18 to purchase alcohol.
He then charged him an additional £1.01 for the cans, which were removed from their box, placed in black bags and handed over outside the shop, where Patel had told the volunteer to wait.
This came three months after concerns were first raised and Patel had received verbal and written guidance on the sale of alcohol.
He had claimed to be the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for the store, a role required by law, but this later turned out to be false.
During interviews and further investigation, it also emerged that Patel had submitted false information to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s licensing department.
At Cardiff Magistrates Court on Friday, he was fined £640 for selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18, £640 for not having a DPS and £640 for suppling false information.
Patel was also ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £190 made the total amount payable £2,610.
Cllr Ruba Sivagnanam, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Equalities and Regulatory Services, said: “Rules about alcohol sales are in place for a reason – to protect young people from harm.
“Patel knew the law but wilfully chose to ignore it by allowing people he knew to be underage to purchase alcohol from his shop.
“He also knowingly operated without a Designated Premises Supervisor and submitted documentation he knew to be false to the Council’s licensing department.
“I would like to thank Trading Standards Officers for the diligent work that has led to this prosecution. This case should send a message to others who flout the law in this way that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”