Tesco set to lose booze licence over underage sales

Tesco sales have fallen sharply
Tesco sales have fallen sharply
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A SUPERMARKET could lose its booze licence after being caught selling alcohol to children.

Staff at Tesco in Durham’s Market Place were twice captured on camera selling bottles of wine to a 16-year-old girl twice by covert officers working with the volunteer teenagers.

On one occasion, the girl was asked for ID, but when she said she did not have any, the cashier told her: “I’ll pretend I have seen it” before selling her a bottle of white wine.

Checks for cigarettes, which cannot be sold to under 18s, were also sparked after police were told 17-year-olds had bought cigarettes from its counter without being challenged.

A duty manager at the shop told officers, who returned to the store after the test buy, the woman who had served the boy was “at the end of her shift and probably wanted to get home and had got sloppy.”

Durham Constabulary has now applied to Durham County Council for a review of the shop’s alcohol licence, which allows the supermarket to sell drink between 6am and 11am all week.

The police force suggests that suspending the licence while they work with Tesco bosses to promote licensing rules with the business would help prevent crime and disorder and protect children from harm.

The Local Safeguarding Children’s Board has also supported any suspension.

It could mean the shop loses its licence, it is suspended for up to three months, conditions of the licence are added or modified, its designated premises supervisor is removed.

In a statement to the Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee, police appeal to councillors to “take strong action in this case”.

The statement adds: “The sale of alcohol to the test purchaser are very serious and highlight the poor management at this particular store.”

The company says in its licence it operates a Think 25 scheme, training its staff to ask anyone who looks under the age for ID, ensures staff meet its licensing objectives, and carries out regular reviews of training and refresher materials. The meeting to discuss the review will be held on Tuesday, June 3, at 10am in the council chamber of County Hall in Durham.