Super Choice News on Walsall Road, Great Barr, faces losing its licence after an undercover Trading Standards investigation which saw a 15-year-old female volunteer served a bottle of WKD when she visited the shop in October.
The visit followed complaints from the public of a similar incident occurring just five months earlier, where it was said that two girls, one aged 15 and one 16, were served alcohol at the shop.
Though the owner of the shop did not attend the meeting himself, he has refuted claims that the sale of alcohol to young people at the shop was an ‘ongoing problem’, adding that the volunteer in question was ‘heavy set and wearing a face mask’.
However, speaking at the meeting today, a representative for West Midlands Police said the force had no confidence in the shop’s ability to uphold the licensing objectives, telling the committee: “This child was a volunteer for Trading Standards,” he said.
“On previous operations I’ve been on with Trading Standards they have used children who look their age, and are not made up to look 18. So this child would have looked around 15 years old either with or without a mask. The child was able to purchase a bottle of WKD without question.
“The officers from Trading Standards asked to look at the refusals book. She said she didn’t know where it was and that her husband dealt with the paperwork.
“There were only five months between the initial Trading Standards visit in May where the law regarding sales and all the information to help the premises trade legally was left before this failed test purchase. The advice given in May has been seemingly ignored by the premises licence holder, with striking similarities between the complaint received, the state of the premises on the advisory visit and the failed test purchase.
“The age of the children to whom the alcohol was sold on the failed test purchase and the complaint is 15. On both occasions that Trading Standards has visited the designated premises supervisor and premises licence holder was not on site, and there was a sole member of staff left in charge. And the lack of a refusals book or knowledge of any such book from the staff left in charge.
“The sale of alcohol to children can only be financially led and profit orientated. West Midlands Police have no confidence in the management of these premises to promote the licensing objectives, especially the protection of children from harm.
“The management of this premises have put profit and money over their legal, moral and social responsibilities.”
A decision is expected within five working days.