A SHOPKEEPER has been fined for selling booze to an underage girl.
Malkit Singh Sangha sold the 15-year-old a bottle of alcopop at his convenience store in Washington’s Manor Road.
The 60-year-old, a shopkeeper for 32 years, was caught out by a test purchaser in March.
He pleaded guilty at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court to selling alcohol to an under-18-year-old and failing to comply with a required Challenge 25 condition.
Jim Wotherspoon, prosecuting for Sunderland City Council, said the Challenge 25 scheme was introduced at the shop a month earlier after a previous failed test purchase last December.
The nationwide scheme requires staff to ask anyone who looks to be under 25 to show photo identification.
Mr Wotherspoon said: “A volunteer, accompanied by police, went into the premises. The test purchaser selected a bottle of Caribbean Twist Strawberry.
“He did not seek to ask her for any ID at all.
“He was then spoken to by police.”
Sangha claimed he had been distracted at the time of the sale as he had just travelled back from India, where his father had died.
“He said it was first mistake he had made in 32 years,” Mr Wotherspoon added.
David Forrester, defending, said Sangha, of Gull Lane in Washington, had refused to sell alcohol to an underage boy just minutes before the girl came in to the shop.
He said: “His daughter, when she heard this had happened, immediately went to the CCTV and ran it off for the officers, to show what had happened in the shop and that he had challenged someone just minutes before.”
District Judge Roger Elsey fined Sangha £1,000, adding that his punishment should act as a deterrent to other retailers.
Sangha was also ordered to pay £100 court costs.