Brighton off-licence vendor convicted for serving underage drinkers
Main article content
The supervisor of an off-licence in Brighton has been convicted of serving alcohol to an underage person after selling a bottle of wine to a 16-year-old.
Rajendram Aravinthan, 50, of The Chase, Wallington, Surrey, was charged with serving alcohol to a person under the age of 18 after failing checks carried out by Brighton and Hove’s Licensing Team as part of Operation Teepee.
Op Teepee uses underage volunteers to attempt to buy alcohol from off-licences, to check whether vendors ask for proof of age.
Aravinthan was the licence holder and designated supervisor at ND Convenience in Carden Avenue on Thursday, 21 October, when he sold a bottle of wine to a 16-year-old in full view of a plain-clothed police officer.
After the child left the store with a receipt and the alcohol, uniformed officers entered to caution Aravinthan and arrange for a visit to John Street Police Station, where he was interviewed under caution.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 27 January, he pleaded guilty and was fined £230 and ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £34 victim surcharge.
The conviction marks a successful 12 months of proactive licensing checks by the Operation Teepee team, who visited 31 premises across Brighton and Hove in 2021.
Twenty-two of those passed, including four re-tests, and nine failed – including two premises which failed twice.
Sussex Police works with premises that fail the checks to help them improve their procedures and remind them of their licensing conditions. The two stores that failed twice will now have their licences reviewed.
In addition to the sentencing of Rajendram Aravinthan, a second person has also been prosecuted after serving underage drinkers twice in a row.
Inspector Michelle Palmer-Harris, Brighton and Hove’s Head of Licensing, said: “Brighton and Hove’s Licensing Team had a very productive 2021, proactively reinforcing the message that the sale of alcohol to underage drinkers will absolutely not be tolerated.
“Licensed vendors have a responsibility to challenge anyone they believe looks under the age of 25. Selling alcohol to children has the potential to cause significant harm to their health and also fuels crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We conducted a multitude of checks under Op Teepee last year and the vast majority of premises either passed or worked with us to improve their performance.
“It was brilliant to see so many businesses aware of their responsibilities, but this conviction shows how seriously we take breaches of licence conditions and that action will be taken against repeated offenders.
“The Licensing Team will continue to carry out these essential unannounced licensing checks throughout 2022.”