Fined after underage booze blunder

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A MAN from Bulwell has been prosecuted and fined after a 15-year-old girl was able to buy wine from a shop in Nottingham.

Peter Shearstone was the licence holder for Open All Hours, of George Street in the city centre when it broke licensing laws for a second time in November last year.

Nottingham Magistrates Court heard that during an undercover operation, trading standards officers sent two 15-year-old girls into the store to try and buy booze.

One of the youngsters was able to buy a bottle of Blossom Hill rose wine without having to produce identification.

The sale was made by Shearstone’s friend, Karpal Singh Ratour, who was looking after the shop while Shearstone went to the bank.

Ratour was given an £80 on-the-spot fine. Shearstone was charged with selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18.

He pleaded guilty by letter and was fined £235. He was also ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court heard that Shearstone was cautioned in June 2010 when a 13-year-old girl was able to buy a bottle of vodka from the same shop. Again Shearstone had not made the sale himself.

Shearstone revealed in his submission to the court that he had surrendered his personal licence and that the premises licence had been revoked by the Nottingham City Council licensing panel, meaning that the shop was no longer allowed to sell alcohol at all.

The licence was reviewed because of the previous history of under-age sales at the shop.

Coun Alex Norris (Lab), lead member for community safety at the city council, said: “Trading standards officers visit licensed shops around on a regular basis to make sure that they are asking suspected under-age customers for ID and refusing to serve them if they can’t prove they are over 18 years.”