Store must close over drink sales to young

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TRADING standards officers in North Yorkshire have enforced the first closure of its kind on an off-licence for repeatedly selling alcohol to children.

North Yorkshire County Council has imposed the two-day closure notice on the Wine Box store in Stokesley after two illegal sales of alcohol took place within a three-month period. The licence holder, Claire Foster, has accepted the notice as an alternative to being prosecuted. The Wine Box will be closed for sales of alcohol over this weekend.

Executive member for trading standards Coun Chris Metcalfe said: “Measures to stop children obtaining alcohol are crucial to prevent addiction from a young age with all the consequent health, social and emotional issues.

“Our trading standards officers have now worked with this licensee to put measures in place to stop any further underage sales from these premises.

“The county council wants to help local businesses stay within the law and to prosper. Although a closure notice may seem draconian, the alternative is prosecution, thereby risking a fine of up to £20,000.”

Recent changes to the Licensing Act give trading standards officers and police the power to issue a notice to licensees to prevent alcohol sales at supermarkets, off-licences, hotels and pubs for a period of between two to 14 days.

Licensees worried about the possibility of inadvertently selling to youngsters can contact trading standards officers on 08458 727374 for free advice.