Rainham shopkeeper hit with £5,000 fine after staff member knowingly sold alcohol to 15-year-old girl

Barkingside Magistrates Court

Barkingside Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

A shopkeeper has been fined £5,000 and had his licence revoked after staff “persistently” sold alcohol to under age customers.

Two under age purchases occurred in the space of three months at a Nisa local store, operating as Shel’s Food and Wine in Writtle Walk, Rainham, while under the ownership of Niranjan Arumugan.

The first sale last August involved the purchase of a bottle of WKD despite a girl telling the member of staff she was 15-years-old at the time.

Barkingside Magistrates Court heard how the employee said “I will sell it to you this one time”.

The second sale last October was undertaken by a 16-year-old boy working at the shop who sold a bottle of Echo Falls wine to a 17-year-old.

An adult member of staff had been at the shop but wasn’t at the till when the alcohol was sold.

Both purchases were part of a Trading Standards investigation with the under age buyers acting as volunteers.

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In follow-up interviews earlier this year with investigation teams, the shop owner said steps had been taken to rectify illegal sales.

The 43-year-old claimed both adult members of staff present when the purchases were completed had been sacked, further training with employees had been carried out and prompts on the till to remind staff about asking for proof of identification were checked to be working.

Since the offences were committed, Mr Arumugan has relinquished being the designated premises holder with his wife taking over.

Magistrates on Friday ruled that the case against the Rainham shopkeeper had been proved.

Mr Arumugan of Clarissa Road, Chadwell Heath, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,310 in application costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

He has also had his personal licence to sell alcohol revoked and must pay in full within 28 days.