A SHOP allegedly caught selling booze to children is at risk of having its licence revoked.
Day 1 Supermarket, formerly known as Spark Gold Mill Supermarket, in Church Lane, Mill End, allegedly sold alcohol to a 15-year-old girl taking part in an undercover sting by Hertfordshire Police and Hertfordshire County Council trading standards.
A hearing will take place next Monday (April 19) to review the licence, held by Sriganeshamoorthy Srivasanthan.
Police Constable Glen Hill, who requested the licence be reviewed, wrote to Mr Srivasanthan on September 15 last year, to warn him that the shop may have been involved in the sale of alcohol to minors, acting on information received.
Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) licensing officer David Shorto said: "In a joint operation with trading standards on Wednesday, November 25 last year, a test purchase was carried out at the premises and a 70cl bottle of Archers Aqua, which is five per cent alcoholic, was sold to a 15-year-old volunteer by a member of staff.
"As a result of this failure and previous warning, the police have called for a review of the premises licence."
Trading standards has made a representation on the basis of an ongoing criminal investigation, following the test purchase failure.
Mr Srivasanthan, of Franklins, Maple Cross, said: "I was not on the shop floor at the time but we mainly ask for ID.
"I have been running this store for two years and before that I had a business in Nottingham which I ran for about 11 years, and I have never once had any problems like this before."
Councillor David Sansom, leader of the opposition Conservative group at TRDC, believes under-age drinking is prevalent because there is not enough to keep teenagers occupied.
"While I wouldn't want to comment on the individual case, selling alcohol to children is a problem everywhere, including Three Rivers," he said.
"I think the problem is idleness – young people have nowhere to go and 16 and 17-year-olds are so close to being adults, which is a difficult transition period.
"TRDC has done some work on this issue but it needs to be more proactive and get more people involved. There are a tremendous number of clubs out there with excellent facilities but they need the 'OK' before they can set anything up.
"Retailers have a responsibility to follow the law and not doing so is a dis-service for the community.
"But even if a shop asked for ID and did everything perfectly, the problem might not go away. Some are going to get through the net."
See next week's Gazette for the results of the hearing or visit http://northwood.uxbridgegazette.co.uk from Tuesday morning (20).