Nowadays, local corner shops have to sell everything that they can in order to keep operating. The local corner shop has always thrived on convenience, providing things that people need at exactly the right time. This is why these stores have been able to charge a slightly higher price for their goods than what is on offer at supermarkets. Economies of scale and an inability to benefit from bulk buying means that these stores often have to pay more for their goods at the start but there is a comfort and convenience offered to customers that have helped to justify higher prices.
It may be that the traditional notion of a corner shop is based around getting break, milk and essentials at all hours of the day and night, but in recent times, these stores are probably seen as places as where you buy alcohol. If you can’t be bothered trawling back from your supermarket with a lot of alcohol or you realize that you need some drink quickly, the local store is the ideal place to shop. This means that many stores place a great level of importance on alcoholic drinks and it would be fair to say that many stores are dependent on these sales and the level of profit associated with alcoholic drinks.
Businesses need to make money but not by any means
Of course, there is always a desire to make more money and sadly, this has led to some stores acting in an illegal manner. Two businesses in Luton have been fined thousands of pounds, with potentially more punishment to come, after they were found to be selling fake vodka. This is extremely dangerous as there could be serious health consequences to the people that drink it, but the stores were also found to be selling alcohol to children. One of these aspects would be bad enough but to have both of these aspects, sometimes combined in the one sale, meant that the businesses involved were facing serious charges.
The stores were found by Trading Standards officers from Luton Borough Council after they had carried out a series of spot checks in the local area. Suresh News in Purley Centre and X-Press News in Park Street were the businesses involved and Kishor Patel and Altaf Ahmed of the relative stores attended in court and pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them. The chemicals that are usually found in paint remover were found in the fake vodka that was on sale in these stores. The stores were also found to have sold alcohol to child shoppers in exercises carried out by the Council Trading Standards. Both of the store owners said that they purchased vodka from a man in a white van.
The court ordered for all of the vodka to be destroyed and both men were ordered to pay fines of over £2,000 for their activities.
Health risks pose big problems
Councillor Jacqui Burnett is closely associated with Trading Standards and she spoke to local media at the resolution of the case. She said; “Both businesses showed no regard for the law. They put profit before other considerations and exposed their customers to serious health risks. Their behavior also undermined other local traders operating within the law. To make matters worse, both traders were also willing to sell alcohol to children. I hope these fines send out a clear message to businesses tempted to break the law that the Council does not tolerate such activity.”
Both of the businesses will now face a review surrounding their license which allows them to sell alcohol. They could face a suspension of this license or they could find that this license is completely revoked. Given the fact that selling alcohol is one of the most important factors for businesses of this nature, losing the ability to sell alcohol can strike a damaging blow to their business. It is understandable that there has to be a level of punishment for this sort of criminal activity but it perhaps puts into context the fact that many businesses do not think about the consequences of their actions at times. There are plenty of ways to make short-term gains when it comes to running a business but it is best to avoid the short term measures that can provide long term pain or hardship.
Given that Trading Standards are carrying out more work of this nature, and are pursuing cases to court and their natural conclusion on a more regular basis these days, it is vital that people caught engaging in this sort of activity are properly represented. There is a need to find solicitor support that has experience in dealing with Trading Standards, while also knowing that they can provide support and assistance in a wide range of other areas and disciplines.