Boston

Boston shop slapped with booze ban after selling alcohol to under-age customers

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A Boston shop has been handed a booze ban after it was caught selling alcohol to under-aged customers.

European Food, at 43 Wide Bargate Boston, had its license to sell alcohol revoked following a decision by Boston Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee this Wednesday.

The council heard that European Food had failed to check the ages of customers; including two undercover 16-year-old volunteers who successfully purchased several cans of cider from the shop.

The ban will become effective after 21 days. European Food has the right to appeal.

A review of the premises license was requested by Lincolnshire Police. The three-man licensing panel agreed that the license holder, Mr Jurijs Ogorodnikovs, had failed in his duties to protect children from harm and prevent crime and disorder.

It is a condition of the premises licenses that staff who sell age-related products are suitably trained and that they operate a Challenge 25 proof of age policy.

European Foods failed several undercover tests organised by the Boston Community Alcohol Partnership, which aims to tackle underage drinking and anti social behaviour. Boston CAP is backed by the police, Boston Borough Council, secondary schools, public health organisations, trading standards, the Parish of Boston and major stores.

In January 2017 they sent test purchases, just past their 18th birthdays, to attempt to buy alcohol without ID. Several stores, including European Food, sold them alcohol without checking their ages.

Despite receiving additional training in March, they failed a further test in June. This time serving two 20-year-olds without ID, despite the fact their ages should have been verified under the Challenge 25 rules.

Then in November two more volunteers, aged just 16, were sold cans of cider without being checked. European Food was the only shop to fail this final vital test.

The assistant who sold the cider received a £90 fixed penalty fine.

Lincolnshire police said legal responsibilities had been consistently failed in their responsibilities and alcohol had been sold to children despite intervention and support from Boston CAP.

Inspector Andy Mortice, chairman of Boston CAP, said after the hearing: “The CAP visited all off-licences in the town to raise awareness of the Challenge 25 policy, offering free resources to assist staff in refusal of alcohol sales to under-age customers.

“Premises which failed the compliancy test received feedback and and offers of further support, all free of charge. It is vital that we deal robustly with premises flouting the regulations.”

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