Tesco worker sacked after under-age booze sale threatens store’s licence

Tesco Metro in Durham Market Square.
Tesco Metro in Durham Market Square.
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A SHOP assistant who served alcohol to a 16-year-old girl has been sacked.

The news of the dismissal emerged at a meeting of Durham County Council’s licensing committee, called to review the drinks licence of Tesco Metro in Market Place, Durham City.

Durham Police and the council’s trading standards department, sent the girl into the shop to make a test purchase.

On her first visit she was refused by the till operator.

A few hours later the same girl went into the shop to make another test purchase.

By chance she was served by the same till operator, who told her: “I will just pretend I’ve seen your identification.”

Licensing officer Sergeant Tim Robson told the meeting at County Hall yesterday, he had identified a computer weakness in Tesco’s till system.

“When the self-service tills are in attendant mode it is possible for a child to self-certify they are 18 by pressing a button,” said Sgt Robson.

“Attendant mode is used when a customer has more shopping than can fit on the scale.

“But it appears the tills are sometimes left in attendant mode.”

The meeting was told Tesco and Durham Police have agreed on seven conditions to be added to the licence for the Market Place store.

Most relate to extra training, and the company has agreed a member of staff will be present whenever a self-service till is in attendant mode.

At least 12 independent test purchases will take place in the next year to monitor the store.

Sgt Robson said he would ask the Association of Chief Police Officers to alert supermarkets nationally to the potential problem with self-service tills in attendant mode.

Committee chairman Coun Colin Carr, said: “Controlling access to alcohol for young people is something this committee takes very seriously.

“We have taken some time to consider this matter, but are satisfied the new conditions and appropriate monitoring will meet the licensing objectives.”

Tesco was not present at the hearing.