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Underage booze buy leads to ban on alcohol sales

Nigel Swan

Nigel Swan

A NEWSAGENT has been stripped of his alcohol licence after a member of staff was caught selling booze to a 16-year-old.

Nigel Swan, the owner of Clapps in West Town, Hayling Island, had his licence suspended for two weeks last year after two failed test purchases in 2013.

In a follow-up visit by Trading Standards in February, the shop again failed to check the ID of a 16-year-old girl who was sold alcohol.

Now the future of the shop – which has been in the family for more than 50 years – looks uncertain after Havant Borough Council’s licensing sub committee voted to ban it from selling alcohol after it was also found staff were not complying with strict rules to record attempted purchases.

Trading Standards officer Paul Worrall’s boss had offered the panel an extra option of a three-month ban.

But, on the day of the meeting, Mr Worrall said, having read his boss’ report, he thought it was so serious it warranted a revocation.

Dreen Chestnutt, Mr Swan’s sister, said the test purchase operation had been unfair because the 16-year-old girl ‘looked like a model, with unblemished skin’ and was extremely confident.

It emerged in the hearing the girl had carried out at least 14 previous test purchases for Trading Standards but Mr Worrall said that was no excuse.

‘The volunteer is still at school,’ he said. ‘She has only just taken her GCSEs.

‘She is a typical 16-year-old.

‘If the right questions are asked and there is basic adherence to a Challenge 25 policy, a 16-year-old should never, ever be sold alcohol.

‘Here we have three occasions where alcohol has been sold by three different members of staff to three different children under 16.’

Mrs Chestnutt said since the last failed test purchase at the store, every member of staff had undergone rigorous training and the shop was covered in Challenge 25 posters.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Swan said he plans to appeal.

He added: ’I’m completely stunned. We have a lot of measurements in place. There’s nothing more we could do. It was simply human error.’

 

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