Off Licence in Court for Sales to Children

Wednesday 29 November

On 28th November 2023, Mr Jigminkumar Gandhi and Mr Kartavya Patel from Huddersfield appeared at Kirklees Magistrates Court for selling alcohol to a 15 year old child from Go Local, Close Hill Lane Stores, 62a Close Hill Lane, Huddersfield, HD4 6JY. Mr Gandhi, the owner of the business, and his employee, Mr Patel, were both found guilty of committing the offence under the Licensing Act 2003. Mr Gandhi pleaded not guilty to the offence but the Magistrates found him guilty and he was fined £369. He was also ordered to pay a surcharge of £148 and pay costs of £900. Mr Patel pleaded guilty to the offence and therefore was given credit for his early guilty plea. Mr Patel was fined £246. He was also ordered to pay a surcharge of £98 and pay costs of £600.

The business was known to West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) with the Service having received a complaint about the premises selling alcohol to underage children.

In September 2022 an underage volunteer entered the shop, under the supervision of a Trading Standards Officer, and attempted to purchase alcohol. She was able to purchase a can of Gin and Tonic (5% alcohol) for £1.69, without being challenged about her age or asked for any form of ID by the seller. It is an offence to sell alcohol to a person under the age of 18.

Mr Gandhi was interviewed later. During the interview Mr Gandhi said that he had given verbal training on age restricted products to his employee but he admitted that this may not have been adequate enough and was the reason for the sale happening. He stated that he does now give frequent training to his employee and this training is now documented. He offered his sincere apologies for the sale.

David Strover, Trading Standards Manager  -  Business Services Team said, “the flagrant sale of alcohol to children should not be happening within our communities. We wrote to this business to make them aware of a complaint we had received and informed them a test purchase may follow. The health risks associated with alcohol misuse are considerable and shops need to ensure they have systems in place to avoid selling alcohol to minors.  Trading Standards will continue to investigate allegations and make test purchases to reduce the prevalence of this issue.  I would like to thank all the partners and members of the public for reporting illegal sales of age restricted goods to children.” 

Councillor Melanie Jones, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said, “Drinking alcohol can damage a child's health, even if they're 15 or older. It can affect the normal development of vital organs and functions, including the brain, liver, bones and hormones.”

Consumers wishing to report illegal trading practices, including the sale of age restricted goods to children can call  the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline  on 0808 223 1133 to report their concerns  -  this can be done anonymously.