Thursday, 3 September 2009

Underage drinking campaign continues

A Mountain Ash landlord has been fined after making his second underage sale in as many years.

The case against Alan Bufton of the New Inn Hotel once again highlights the fact there are landlords out there making illegal, underage sales – scuppering the intensive efforts to deal with alcohol-related youth crime and disorder.

And the message has gone out that there is no excuse for licensees or their staff to be unaware of the law and how to help uphold it, thanks to a series of free workshops that are being run by partners.

Free support and training is on offer for such workers and the Oxford Street incident has once again highlighted to licensees they must either take advantage of the help offered, or face the consequences.

Mr Bufton was charged with an offence under the 2003 Licensing Act after selling alcohol to a 14-year-old female volunteer during a test purchase operation in October 2008.

He appeared before Aberdare Magistrates’ Court this month, where he admitted the offence and was fined £450 and ordered to pay £300 costs. He was told the financial penalty was higher than usual because it was the second underage sale made in the premises in two years.

David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “It is hard for us to understand how such breaches of the law are still taking place.

“We have a high profile enforcement campaign that has sent a clear message to licensees that test purchase operations continue and they need to be on their guard or they will face court and be held up as an example to others.

“We have also, with Merthyr Council, secured Making the Connections funding that allows us to run free, specialist training courses for landlords, their staff and those in a position to sell alcohol to support them as they uphold the law.

“Despite this, underage sales are still being made and they have to stop.”

As part of a significant bid for funding to Making the Connections, RCT and Merthyr have secured funding for a number of training courses running in September, October and November. These include

  • DPS On Licence sessions for those who manage or own pubs and clubs, which is accredited by the British Innkeepers Institution (BII).
  • Off Licence courses for those who run such venues, including topics on ethnicity, race relations and the language barriers that often cause issues due to the large number of ethnic minorities who run such shops
  • Award for Responsible Alcohol Retailing, which is a nationally-recognised award also from the BII and is aimed at staff in pubs and clubs in town centres.

Anyone interested in taking part is asked to contact 01443 425351.


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