Late-night store sold booze to boy
THE owner of a shop where a 16-year-old boy bought alcohol has been allowed to keep his licence after installing a fingerprint scanner at his business.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council reviewed the licence at Nisa Local, in Bentilee, following an application by Staffordshire Police.
City councillors yesterday allowed shopkeeper Rajinder Singh Sangha to carry on selling alcohol after hearing he had implemented several new measures to prevent underage sales, including the fingerprint scanner.
The counter-top technology allows customers wanting to buy alcohol to register their fingerprint the first time they show identification to shop staff.
From then on they are able to prove they are old enough to buy booze by scanning their fingerprint, rather than having to carry ID.
Agent Brian Wain, representing Mr Sangha, told the council's licensing sub-committee his client had implemented all the police's recommendations.
He said: "A fingerprint scanner has been installed, which was provided by Nisa. Everything has been put in place and the police have been back and verified that.
"Mr Sangha is keen to put this behind him. He is fully aware of the consequences if he should fail a further test purchase."
The Dividy Road shop was caught out in a police and trading standards sting in September when the 16-year-old bought alcohol.
Investigators had visited 13 businesses during the operation – with just two selling alcohol to the underage volunteers.
The staff member, who sold the alcohol and still works at the shop, was fined £80. He said he had not asked the boy for identification "because people mind too much."
As well as installing the fingerprint scanner, officers recommended Mr Sangha train his staff every two months, keep records of the training and use a till that prompts staff to check the age of customers buying alcohol.
Staffordshire Police's licensing officer Kevin Sherratt told the licensing sub-committee he was satisfied Mr Sangha had taken the police's concerns on board.
He said: "I have visited this store and I'm quite happy that the conditions are being adhered to. Mr Sangha showed me the training records and he has been training staff every two months.
"I've spoken to the staff member who supplied the alcohol and I'm quite sure it won't happen again."
Councillors permanently modified Mr Sangha's licence to add the police's conditions.
They also instructed that a record must be kept of when customers register on the fingerprint scanner and what ID they show.
Committee chairman Joy Garner also warned Mr Sangha: "A second appearance here may result in the revocation of the premises licence."