Sainsburys Hit With Heavy Fine For Underage Alcohol Sales

Sainsbury’s has been hit with a fine of nearly £45,000 for selling alcohol to under 18s, following an investigation by Derbyshire County Council .
The supermarket giant was found guilty at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court of five charges under the Licensing Act 2003 and was subsequently fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £30,000.
The case was taken to court after spot checks by trading standards and Derbyshire Police caught staff at two Sainsburys stores in Derbyshire selling alcohol to under-age volunteers.
On May 19 2007, two 15 year-old volunteers were sent to the Dronfield store on three separate occasions and were able to buy 28 bottles and 12 cans of lager without being asked their age or for identification.
The court also heard that on each occasion the employee who sold them the alcohol was also under the age of 18.
On March 8 2008, two 16 year-old volunteers managed to buy six bottles of lager and eight cans of cider on two separate visits to the Swadlincote store, although they were refused on a third occasion.
Following the hearing, a Sainsburys spokesman said: “We take our responsibilities as a licensed retailer very seriously and have recently implemented a Think 25 policy at all our stores to help reduce the chance of alcohol being sold persons under 18.”
Derbyshire County Councillor Carol Hart said: “These cases send out a strong warning to retailers, that regardless of their size, we will always prosecute if they break the law.”