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Community Safety

High spirited bid to avoid alcohol duty ends up down the drain

Lambeth Trading Standards officer Bernard Comny (left) and Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet member for Public Protection, (right) disposing of the seized whisky in Brixton on Tuesday, September 18.

Thirty four bottles of Scotch whisky with counterfeit duty paid stamps have been disposed of by Lambeth council.

They were seized as part of the council’s ongoing push to protect the interests of Lambeth consumers and businesses.

The High Commission Scotch was seized by Trading Standards Officers at the end of last month (Aug29) from an off licence in Kennington.

The whisky was intended for export, but had been diverted back into the country and the bottles re-labelled with fake “UK Duty Paid” stamps.

The 70cl bottles of spirits were discovered after the shop attendant failed a test purchase, selling four cans of lager to a 14-year-old boy.

The man behind the counter was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80 for supplying alcohol to an under 18 year old.

Following the discovery of the two infringements Trading Standards imposed a final warning under threat of a review of the business owner’s licence.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet member for Public Protection, said: “This seizure represents an example of the good work being done in the borough to monitor licensed premises. Selling alcohol unchecked to a 14-year-old boy could have had disastrous results.

“Irresponsible license holders can cause great harm in our community. We will continue to work hard to ensure businesses stick to the rules surrounding the sale of alcohol, tobacco, knifes and other age restricted goods.”

Lambeth Council operates a “three strikes” policy so where there is a major concern, such as an underage alcohol or tobacco sale, trading standards can call for the businesses alcohol licence to be reviewed.

The review could lead to a licence being revoked.

The team also enforce a wide range of laws, including product safety, weights and measures, food labeling, credit and counterfeiting.

That ongoing work, with the police, saw a series of test purchases carried out for the sale of age restricted goods during August.

Over a three day period 40 shops in Lambeth were visited, with under age volunteers going into shops and attempted to buy age restricted goods – alcohol, tobacco and knives.

Four shops sold alcohol under age and four £80 fixed penalty notices were issued. One person was cautioned for selling a knife under age.

One person was reported for prosecution for the underage sale of tobacco and a failed asylum seeker who had absconded from UK Border Agency was arrested after being found working illegally.

The action was taken as part of Lambeth Council’s Safer Communities campaign to highlight what we’re doing to make the borough a safer place.

The campaign will also show how we are giving people in the borough more control over the council’s work with the police to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

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