Store manager fined after alcohol sting'

PUBLISHED: 13:03 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

THE acting manager of the Spar store in Ely has been fined after an undercover trading standards operation found that alcohol was supplied to a 14-year-old boy at the High Street shop. Susan Pettitt, 48, of Columbine Road, Ely, was not in the store at the

THE acting manager of the Spar store in Ely has been fined after an undercover trading standards operation found that alcohol was supplied to a 14-year-old boy at the High Street shop.

Susan Pettitt, 48, of Columbine Road, Ely, was not in the store at the time, but was ordered to pay a £150 fine and £150 costs as the member of staff responsible for employees' training.

Frank Chandley, representing the county council's Trading Standards division told Ely Magistrates Court on Tuesday that the exercise, carried out at 5.30pm on August 12 last year, was intended to find out

how available alcohol was to youngsters in the area.

The trading standards officer was followed into the shop by a 14-year-old volunteer, who was acting under instruction, the court was told.

"The officer saw the boy pick up four cans of lager before approaching the checkout," said Mr Chandley.

"He saw the shop assistant, who he now knows to be called Lewis Bage, sell the four cans of lager to the volunteer without making any challenge, or, in particular, without asking the age of the volunteer," he said.

"In this case, the position of the council is that the volunteer was clearly under the age of 18 and that, in any event, Lewis Bage made no attempt to verify his age."

Pettitt, who was assistant manager in August, explained that Mr Bage - a college student who was working at the store part-time - had been given the appropriate training.

"I can tell the court now that I did train him on July 5," she said.

"Our policy is that no new member of staff goes near the tills until they are fully-trained. He stated in his statement that he was not trained but he was. If I hadn't done my job I would no longer be employed."

Chairman of the bench, Jane Lewin Smith, said: "We view very seriously the supply of alcohol to underage drinkers."

"You have pleaded guilty and therefore have accepted responsibility for what went on in the store."

Ely Spar now has a policy of checking the ages of anyone who looks to be under the age of 25.

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