Test purchase leads to two-day closure and €500 fine for retailer

first_imgFacebook WhatsApp NewsLocal NewsTest purchase leads to two-day closure and €500 fine for retailerBy admin – March 15, 2012 673 Print Previous articleBloody Sunday 40 years on – ‘Carthaginians’ Next articleGood news on way for Kilmallock area roads admin A TOPAZ filling station in Limerick has been ordered to close its off-licence sales for a period of two days after a test purchase made by an underage girl on behalf of An Garda Siochana, revealed that the shop assistant never asked for ID. Ard Services, with a registered address at Deansgrange Road, Dublin, the company responsible for 113 Topaz sites nationwide, 108 of which are licenced to sell intoxicating liquor, was before the court answering a summons charge after gardai detected the underage purchase on January 21, 2011.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Evidence was given that Sgt McMahon, attached to Mayorstone Garda Station, arranged with an underage minor to purchase six bottles of Heineken at the Caherdavin depot of Topaz, on the Ennis Road.The youth was to meet at a pre- arranged venue and the purchase that was observed by Sergeant McMahon.The court heard that the female store assistant failed to follow the in-house or legal procedures in asking for identification to verify that the purchaser was of age.The defence counsel addressed Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin, stating that she represented Ard Services and was entering a plea of guilty to the charges contrary to section 31 (2) and (3) of the Intoxicating liquor act 1988 as amended.Ard Services apologised to the court and were very regretful of the situation as it is the policy and practice of the company to look for relevant identification from purchasers of alcohol should they look underage.It was outlined that the company had previously, and since the incident, passed all test purchases and had a clean record.Evidence of the training procedures, as well as the “on screen” till operator prompts that appear during the sale of alcohol, were shown to the court.It was said that the company takes the matter of selling alcohol on its sites very seriously.Ard Services, through its Topaz outlets, is also a member of RRAI, the Responsible Retailers of Alcohol in Ireland, a group set up in 2009 to implement the RRAI voluntary Code of Practice on the display and sale of alcohol products in mixed trading premises.Judge Ni Chonduin heard that the company’s compliance manager was in court to offer evidence and to outline the operator’s normal code of conduct.Counsel for Ard Services said that they take “the sale of alcohol very seriously and are very well aware of the consequences of breaches of legislation”.She added that it is a dismissible offence for an employee to sell alcohol to a minor who is not of age. The court heard that the employee had left the company a few days afterwards.Evidence was also given that the site, and other Topaz sites, had passed subsequent test purchases.Judge Ni Chonduin heard that this was the company’s first offence before the courts for all of its sites nationwide, and added that she did take into account that the company was compliant and fully proactive in preventing the sale of alcohol to minors at any of its sites.Imposing the mandatory closure order for the sale of alcohol, of two days, at the Caherdavin petrol station, Judge Ni Chonduin warned that a second offence would have a mandatory closure order of seven to 30 days, and that would have an effect nationwide.Due to the early plea and the subsequent and normal measures that the company enacts at it’s mixed retail sites, the maximum fine of €3,000 was not imposed and Ard Services was fined €500 and given 30 days to pay.center_img Advertisement Twitter Linkedin Emaillast_img