A Wisbech convenience store will have its licence taken away for 28 days after serving alcohol to two under age girls.

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Police will ensure all alcohol is removed from the shelves of Rima Stores from Boxing Day after owners had their licence suspended during a hearing.

Licence holder Narendra Patel of the Lynn Road shop will have his licence suspended for 28 days after the mandatory 21 days to appeal.

Sgt Dave Bax said: “I am very pleased with the Licensing Committee’s decision, they have shown that selling alcohol to someone under the age of 18 years is serious, and has consequences.

“The Police, trading standards and Fenland District Council Licensing have visited the premises over a considerable period of time offering advice and support.

“The person who made the sale on September 27 held a personal licence to sell alcohol, and has been recently trained in his responsibilities.

“He chose to ignore this training and continued a call on his mobile phone while making the sale.

“Challenge 25 age verification scheme was developed to make it easier for staff to make the right call and ask for Identification.”

Rima sold a bottle of wine to two under age girls just 18 months after the shop’s licence was put under review.

Premises that make persistent sales (two in 90 days) face closure and fines of up to £20,000 as well as facing licence suspension or revocation.

“The sale of under age purchases is illegal and totally unacceptable,” said Councillor Kay Mayor, chairman of Fenland licensing committee.

“Our decision is based on the protection of children from harm which we believe has not been adequately addressed despite previous assurances.”

Pubs and Shops should ensure all their staff are trained on challenge 25 and keep records of training.

Staff should be briefed at the start of their shift about under age sales and sign to say they understand.

Premises should also consider using specialist test companies such as “Serve Legal” to test their processes.

Staff should know the buck stops with them and they could receive a £90 fine on the spot, or, if prosecuted hundreds of pounds and a conviction, said Sgt Bax.

Police test premises in Fenland using volunteers. Anyone under 18 who is willing to volunteer to take part in such operations should contact Sue Clarke or Dave Bax at Wisbech Police Station

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