Sunderland store loses booze licence after selling to children

Store in Ryhope Street South, Ryhope which has lost its alcohol licence
Store in Ryhope Street South, Ryhope which has lost its alcohol licence
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A SHOP which sold booze to children has been stripped of its alcohol licence.

Beat bobbies in Ryhope picked up a 15-year-old girl who bought three 1.5-litre bottles of strong Frosty Jack cider from Rye and Dry, in Ryhope, a licensing hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre was told.

She was taken back to the Lifestyle Express store in Ryhope Street South by Pc Les Jordan, and identified a Sri Lankan national who illegally sold her the booze.

Speaking through a Tamil translator, he told police he was an uncle of the owner, Jeyanthy Manikkavasagar – known as Jey.

The unemployed labourer, who admitting having no retail training, also admitted he knew it was against the law to let under-18s buy alcohol.

He was fined £80 by police and warned him not to sell alcohol in the store.

Sunderland East Policing Team beat manager Pc Jordan told the hearing that he was on duty a week later when he spotted a 16-year-old girl carrying a bag with 12 cans of Fosters lager, which she had bought from the same man at Rye and Dry.

She told the officer: “I went in alone and asked how much the lager was. He said it was £10 and I bought them.

“I’m surprised that he didn’t ask how old I was. I paid the money and left.”

The committee heard how the unlawful sale, on November 10 last year, was one of three incidents police were aware of.

Two weeks later, a resident raised the alarm, after a gang of youths were spotted drinking at a children’s play area in Ryhope’s Beechbrooke Estate.

PCSOs discovered 14- and 15-year-old girls boozing in the play park at about 6.30pm.

The off-licence first fell foul of the law on in September 2011, when a 14-year-old girl was sold a bottle of rosé wine by the owner’s husband, after she was sent in as part of an operation by police and Trading Standards officers.

Police licensing co-ordinator Sarah Howson told committee members: “Information from the local community reveals the store is well known by under-18s that alcohol can be bought from the premises.

“There were two sales in the space of 14 days.”

Committee chairman George Thompson agreed to revoke the shop’s alcohol licence.

Miss Manikkavasagar did not attend the hearing. Councillors turned down a request by her solicitor to have the decision adjourned.

She declined to comment when contacted by the Echo.

Twitter: @janethejourno