A shop could lose its licence after it sold alcohol to a 15-year-old without asking for ID.

More than 50 residents have written to Reading Borough Council (RBC) calling for it to give Best One another chance.

This was the Nire Road store’s second test purchase failure in four months, with previously sold to a 17-year-old.

The store in Caversham could lose its licence at a hearing at the Civic Centre on Thursday, June 27, at 930am.

Owner Tajender Singh Parmar, in a letter to the council responding to the report, said: “I would like to assure you that I have taken this notice extremely seriously and taken immediate action to rectify the situation.

“I am a small local shop keeper and have experienced difficulties employing reliable staff.

“I now enforce the ‘Challenge 25’ rule at all times and ensure that, without identification, no alcohol, cigarettes or tobacco are sold.

“If any member of my staff does not enforce this procedure, they will face instant dismissal.”

The owner sold a bottle of Bulmers cider to a 17-year-old girl in the first offence in October 2018, for which he was fined £90.

He said his shop was subject to an armed robbery in October 2018 which left him in a state of depression and saw his debts increase.

Mr Palmer said: “I found it very hard to cope. I had nobody to speak to and had to face everything alone.

“It has been an extremely challenging time and I remain very anxious about my substantial debt.

“If I lose my license, I stand to lose everything. This is because I am in debt to people who lent me so much money to buy this shop in the first place. The license the shop holds is its strength.”

The second sale, in February 2019, was handled by a member of his staff who has now been dismissed.

The test purchase exercises, carried out by Thames Valley Police (TVP) and RBC, involve an underage person attempting to buy alcohol in the shop, with an officer watching on.

Trading standards officer Ian Savill said: “The sale of alcohol to children has serious impacts on society and can in certain circumstances lead to child crime exploitation, anti-social behaviour and negative impacts on the health and well-being of children.

“The impact of the two failed test purchases does not appear to have landed with Mr Parmar and demonstrates that either there is wilful neglect of his responsibilities under the Licensing Act 2003 or he is simply ignorant of those obligations.”

The RBC report also states that number of other licensing policies were not in place such as suitable training and refusal logs at the last visit on March 20.

RBC and TVP have both called for revocation of the store’s licence.

One resident wrote to the council: “I think it would be appalling for our local shop to close, due to a lot of people with mental and physical illnesses who really depend on this shop.”

Another called for the store to be punished in another way rather than revoking its licence.