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High price of failing test-purchases

What are the implications of failing a test purchase?

Q: Unfortunately, last week a member of my staff failed a “test purchase”. I was called in for an off the record discussion with Trading Standards, who told me that I am at risk of a fine of £20,000 if I failed a further test purchase. This week, my premises failed another test purchase. What are the legal implications?

A: You have failed two test purchases within a period of three months, and therefore this is classed as persistently selling alcohol to children. Trading Standards are correct and, if you are prosecuted, then the maximum fine has risen from £10,000 to £20,000. There is the option of a period of “voluntary” cessation of alcohol sales agreed with Trading Standards or the Police, instead of prosecution, with the period being a maximum of 2 weeks. Of course there is a possibility that there could be a review of your Premises Licence. Either way, I suggest you obtain legal advice as soon as possible.

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