Dunstable shopkeeper fined for selling booze to teenagers

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A Dunstable shopkeeper has appeared in court after his business was caught selling alcohol to under-18s.

Nagendran Pankayarchelvan, who runs A5 Food and Wine Ltd in Brittany Court, High Street South, Dunstable, pleaded guilty when he appeared at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, January 16.

That was after the shop was caught selling alcohol to under-18s during two test-purchasing operations in June and July of last year.

The visits were carried out by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team.

Pankayarchelvan, who claimed limited means, was fined £181, ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge and £400 in costs – a total of £611.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said: “The law states that shops are not allowed to sell alcohol to under-18s. This is non-negotiable and designed to protect our children from harm.

“You shouldn’t serve someone alcohol just because they look old enough to buy it. If in doubt, check their age using a recognised form of identification like a proof-of-age PASS card, passport or driving licence. If you don’t then you run the risk of a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £20,000.

“I would like to thank the teenagers who took part in our test-purchasing operations too. We carry these out regularly to make sure that businesses are obeying the law – and I am very pleased to say that the majority do.”

If you think that a business is selling alcohol to under-18s, or your son or daughter would be interested in helping the council carry out test-purchasing operations, please email trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk