A SHOP owner has been fined £300 for selling alcohol to a 15-year-old girl during a trading standards test purchase exercise.

Sadaqat Ali, 53, licensee of Premier Central Stores in Trinity Street, Rhostyllen, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Licensing Act 2003.

Louise Edwards, prosecuting on behalf of Wrexham Council, said trading standards officers had carried out an exercise using under-age test purchasers and that a bottle of wine had been sold to the 15-year-old.

The sales assistant who made the sale was issued with an £80 fixed penalty.

Ali was interviewed by trading standards staff and it was evident he had not taken sufficient precautions to prevent staff from selling to persons under 18.

Ali, who was represented at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court by his daughter, said he had since introduced numerous steps to try to ensure staff working in his premises knew the law.

The court was also told he had run the business for 26 years without any problems.

As well as the £300 fine, he was ordered to pay £200 prosecution costs and £15 victim surcharge.

Cllr David Bithell, Wrexham Council’s lead member for the environment and transport, said after the hearing: “Under-age drinking is a serious issue and leads to anti-social behaviour and health problems for young people.

“Trading standards and the police carry out regular test purchasing exercises at licensed premises throughout the Wrexham area. Sales staff who sell to persons under 18 are liable to be issued with an £80 fixed penalty, or prosecution.

“Licensees may be fined up to £5,000. If more than one sale takes place the licence may be reviewed.

“In this case the licensee was prosecuted because he had not taken sufficient steps to prevent sales at his premises.

“Trading standards staff provide advice packs to licensees.

“It is important that licensees follow the advice, train and instruct their staff properly and check that instructions are being followed.

“Any licensee requiring advice should contact trading standards”.

For further information call trading standards on 01978 292045, or e-mail trading.standards@wrexham. gov.uk.