A TORY candidate in the upcoming borough elections has had his shop’s drinks licence suspended for three months because of underage sales.

Jarnail Singh, known to his customers and fellow shopkeepers in Nuxley Road, Belvedere, as Mick Singh, appeared before a Bexley Council licensing sub-committee last week.

Bexley police asked for a review of his licence to sell alcohol at his Newscentre shop in Nuxley Road, after it failed a test purchase in December last year.

Sub-committee members heard how the 15-year-old boy was able to buy six cans of Guinness without being asked for any ID.

The person who sold the Guinness even asked Mr Singh the price before making the sale.

Mr Singh said the man who served the teenager was not a regular staff member but had been helping out in the shop.

He said he had been preoccupied with sorting out problems with the Lottery machine and a large queue had formed.

Although he had been asked the price of the drinks, Mr Singh said he was not aware of who was being served.

The sub-commiittee heard the shop had been warned by letter about the possibility of being targeted for a test purchase.

It was told Mr Singh had been served with a fixed penalty notice in 2007 when he failed another test purchase and personally served a 16-year-old girl with six bottles of vodka alcopops.

Bexley Council is also considering prosecuting Mr Singh for an incident in October last year when a 16-year-old boy was able to buy fireworks from Newscentre, despite being under 18.

But many local people and shopkeepers rallied to his defence saying he was a very active member of the local community.

In its findings, the sub-committee said it was concerned the shop’s training manual on licensing law was out of date and its refusals book had been completed by Mr and Mrs Singh at a later date.

It said the suspension of the licence would allow the couple to update themselves, their staff and the manual with current legislation and qualifications.

It also placed extra conditions on the licence when the off-licence resumes trading, including the imposition of ultra-violet labels on all drinks items and a Challenge 25 policy (asking ID from anyone who looks under the age of 25).

The Singhs have 21 days to appeal.