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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Store owner fined over sale of alcohol to 15-year-old

The owner of a convenience store has been fined after a 15-year-old was sold cider in a Trading Standards test purchase.

Nitu Manchanda, who runs the Simply Local-Best One store at Five Lane Ends, appeared at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with selling alcohol to someone under the age of 18.

She admitted the offence, but told the court the sale had been made by a family friend, who she only knew by the nickname Rhythm, rather than by herself.

And she told the court her store had been plagued by problems caused by pupils at a nearby school

Magistrates heard that Trading Standards carried out the test purchase on December 22, 2022 after receiving reports of underage sales.

The teen was sold a 440ml can of Strongbow Dark Fruit cider with a 4 per cent ABV without being asked for identification as part of the operation.

Waseem Raja, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards, said Manchanda, 49 of Highfield Road, was later interviewed.

Mr Raja said: “She explained that the person who had made the sale was a family friend visiting for Christmas, and she only knows the person as Rhythm, she didn’t know anything else about them.

“At the time she asked Rhythm to watch over the shop as she was on the phone with Hermes. She explained that the seller was not a paid employee.”

Manchanda represented herself in court, and said she had been on an urgent call with Hermes at the time of the sale. The store operates as a Hermes drop off and pick up point, and was particularly busy with parcels in the run up to Christmas.

She had called for someone to watch over the shop floor while she was on the phone.

Magistrates acknowledged it would have been a hectic time for the business, but said Manchanda should not have left an inexperienced person in charge of the shop.

She was fined £198 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £79 surcharge.

After the sentencing Manchanda asked to speak. She told the court she had a very bad problem with “boys from Hanson School.”

She said they had previously broken her shop door and fled the shop after grabbing boxes of chocolate.

She suggested the complaints about underage sales may have been made by these boys as revenge for her trying to stop them.

Magistrates said they had sympathy for her situation, but pointed out that her business had sold alcohol to a youth.

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