Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Coned off - Hacked off

Job vacancies at Gasso with the cones always ready for use

It has become clear why the 24-hour service station situated on Rams Hill is closed to motorists for 90% of the day, with the forecourt coned off and out of bounds to anyone requiring fuel.

The authorities have insisted that the Petersfield service station should undergo a licence review after it was caught out three times selling alcohol to minors during what is claimed to be a sting operation.

In September 2009 Hampshire Police conducted a “test purchase” at Gasso when they asked a 16-year-old girl in to buy a bottle of Bulmers cider.

DI Gestive told us: “It’s difficult for an officer to go in and buy drink when in uniform, people will realise we’re drinking on the job, so we usually pick a likely looking customer who is using the service station.

“On this occasion, the young girl in question already had an armful of Bacardi Breezers that she was intending to buy, so an extra bottle of Bulmers was never going to look suspicious. Her only problem was carrying it all.”

The transaction was spotted by a vigilant member of the public who asked DI Gestive to intervene.

The cashier, clearly in the wrong, made the sale without asking the girl her age or for ID. The staff member was issued an £80 fine before being dismissed by Gasso.

With the authorities alerted, a second operation was carried out by Hampshire County Council's trading standards when a 15-year-old was sold alcohol without being asked for ID. Again an £80 fixed penalty notice was issued and a further member of staff dismissed.

In March two 16-year-olds were used by police to buy a bottle of rose wine and four bottles of lager for a barbeque at the police station.

The sale was spotted by the authorities who were monitoring the service station. The police, predictably, claimed it to be another part of the sting operation and the transaction was processed without any request for identification.

To compound matters, the service station manager was asleep in the shop at the time and at no point was she consulted about the sale.

There was another fixed penalty fine and another member of staff lost their job.

A spokesman for Gasso told us: “We are sorry for any inconvenience to our customers and we can understand their frustration as they arrive for fuel, only to be greeted by a row of cones.

“As I am sure you will have read, we have lost most of our staff over the last few months and as a result we are only able to open for a short period each day.

“We are desperately trying to recruit and once the situation has been rectified, we will once again return to normal opening hours.”
Cards tempt customers with a job at the service station

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