TWO Leigh Park shops have been forced to stop selling alcohol after they were persistently caught selling booze to underage children.
Select and Save, in Park House Farm Way, and Stop and Shop, in Middle Park Way, have been issued with orders to clear the shelves of alcohol until a licensing review takes place at Havant Borough Council on Friday.
A report to the licensing sub-committee reveals police sent a 16-year-old volunteer into the Select and Save in October and they were served with two cans of Strongbow by the designated premises supervisor (DPS), and owner, Jagdish Patel, who owned and ran both shops.
He was immediately issued with an £80 fixed penalty fine.
Shortly after this Mr Patel’s wife Netra took over as the DPS.
Mrs Patel told police her husband had been under a lot of pressure while he was renovating another of their shops, Stop and Shop.
But just two months later another 16-year-old was served four cans of Strongbow by Mr Patel’s father, while Mr Patel was standing next to him.
There were also two previous instances of cigarettes being sold to under-18s – in 2011 and 2012.
The report states: ‘These test purchase failures are entirely due to poor management on the part of Mr Patel.
‘His failure to comply and promote the licensing objectives to his immediate family and staff have resulted in these failures.’
In order to avoid prosecution the couple agreed with police to stop serving alcohol for one week, from April 3 to April 10.
In a representation by their solicitor to the sub-committee they expressed their ‘considerable regret’ over the failed test purchases.
In the Stop and Shop, two stings were carried out. First by police in November last year, and then by trading standards officers in December.
Both times a female staff sold alcohol to a 16-year-old volunteer.
Mr Patel remains the DPS of this shop.
Trading standards is urging the council to impose a three-month licence suspension with a number of conditions.
The committee will review the couple’s licences on Friday, at 9am at Havant Borough Council.