A SHOP has had its alcohol licence revoked following failed test purchases and a sale to a 13-year-old child.
Last Friday’s licensing meeting saw councillors, a licensing officer and representatives from South Yorkshire Police review the licence of Amutha Ravikumar, of Lifestyle Express, on Rowland Road in Wilthorpe.
Following previous failed test purchases and reports from concerned members of the public, Mrs Ravikumar had been issued with information and training to follow more stringent sales practices such as the ‘Challenge 25’ initiative in the family-run shop - but underage sales continued.
In a witness statement given by Kirsty Green, a licensing enforcement officer for South Yorkshire Police, it was stated that Mr Kathiravelu Ravikumar, Amutha’s husband, had sold alcohol to underage police spot-checkers in June and again in July.
Police also received a complaint that a 13-year-old had been sold alcohol from the shop and had consequently become ‘violently ill’.
Mrs Ravikumar attended the meeting with her son, Navinth Ravikumar, who spoke on her behalf throughout.
Navinth claimed his father had failed the test purchases as a result of his ill health and stressed that the family had made an effort to stop him selling alcohol in the shop.
He said: “My father had a stroke in September but was unwell before this, so I believe this may have caused him to make mistakes.
“So we took my father out of the job and have undertaken training with all staff.
“Basically we’re really sorry about what has happened.
“We regret it and are upset about the whole thing.
“I think we will appeal the decision as it would never happen again.
“We are not defending what has happened, but we would like to say sorry.”
Emily Price, a solicitor who represented the police at the meeting, added: “The basis for this review is the sale of alcohol to under 18s.
“Mrs Ravikumar has been operating out of her licence and the history and chronology of the incidents - as well as a statement from Kirsty Green - shows efforts have been made to offer training to the owner after previous reports.
“Following a failed test purchase, the police were informed in the following days that a 13-year-old was sold alcohol on the premises and consequently became ill - to the point of being unable to walk - in a local park.
“There is evidence to show this is not an isolated incident, it has been a repeated pattern of behaviour - despite efforts to train and work with Mrs Ravikumar.”
Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for core services, said: "We believe that everyone in the borough has a right to feel safe and live a healthy life.
“Our licensing committee takes a very serious view on alcohol being sold to anyone under the age of 18, taking this decision to revoke the licence to help protect children from harm."