Newsagent sold booze to 13-year-olds

A NEWSAGENT who flogged booze to children as young as 13 is today banned from selling liquor after his licence was revoked.

A NEWSAGENT who flogged booze to children as young as 13 is today banned from selling liquor after his licence was revoked.

Police and Trading Standards officials said they had collected a weighty dossier of evidence suggesting Arulampalan Rajiharan had sold alcohol to youngsters from his Humberstones news agency in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich.

During yesterday's council licensing committee hearing at Grafton House, it emerged that Mr Rajiharan had already been fined �750 by magistrates and given a fixed penalty notice after selling alcohol to children on two separate occasions last year, some just 13-years-old.

Suffolk police's operations inspector, Rebecca Kidd-Stanton, said the force believed that Mr Rajiharan - known to customers as Raj - had “habitually” sold alcohol to those under 18 during the last three years.

She said police and Trading Standards had received numerous complaints from the public, many from parents, that children had been able to buy alcohol at Humberstones without proof of age.

She claimed the force had received intelligence suggesting staff had sold booze to youngsters wearing school uniform.

Most Read

It was also revealed that a refusals register, which alcohol vendors keep to monitor illegitimate attempts to buy liquor, had been left completely blank.

Mr Rajiharan said his shop was up for sale and claimed the ability to sell alcohol made the business a more attractive proposition to would-be buyers.

Solicitor Hugh Rowland, who represented Mr Rajiharan, said his client would, if his licence was retained, only sell alcohol to those over 21, install CCTV and record in a log book every transaction involving alcohol.

Mr Rowland added: “The shop's marketability will be affected by not having an off licence facility.

“He has worked very hard to put together a business and he realises that he has put that in peril.”

However, it took the committee less than ten minutes to reject his appeals and revoke the licence.

Speaking after the hearing, insp Kidd-Stanton said: “The police are very pleased with the decision the licensing committee have reached.

“We would like to thank the public and those who have assisted us in bringing this to light.

“We treat information about under age sales seriously and hopefully this decision reflects that.”

How can we tackle under age drinking? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter