Kilburn shop owner charged for selling alcohol to children

23 March 2016

A Kilburn convenience store owner was charged last month (Feb 2016), after a test purchase exercise carried out by our trading standards team found that his business sold alcohol to children.


Mr Thanapalasingham, aged 46 from Blockley Road in Wembley, who owns 'Food & Wine' on 15 Kilburn Lane, was given a conditional discharge for one year and made to pay £500 towards our prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge by Willesden Magistrates Court, following the purchase made by two child volunteers last August, who were just 12 and 13 years old.


The girls, who were observed at all times by Brent Trading Standards officers, were able to purchase one can of beer without being asked their age or for any identification by Mr. Ponnuthurai, the sales assistant who served them at the time.


Mr Thanapalasingham explained to the court that the Mr. Ponnuthurai sold the alcohol to the children because he was distracted following the news of a family bereavement. He has since introduced systems to his shop to help prevent any future underage sales.


Cllr James Denselow, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said, "This prosecution arose from an intelligence-based operation by the trading standards team to see whether retailers are supplying restricted goods to young people under 18.


"There were 11 other premises visited that day as part of the same exercise. All of the other premises refused to sell alcohol to the same two child volunteers, so it is clear that a lack of due diligence was shown by the owner.


"The trading standards team are working hard to ensure that these illegal sales stop as part of our continued commitment in helping to make Brent a safer and healthier borough. If there is any doubt of a customer's age then retailers should always ask for identification."


Underage sales can be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advise Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.