Friday, 30 October 2009

Off licences and pubs sell alcohol to under age children

Two off licences and three pubs in the Gwersyllt, Broughton and Coedpoeth areas of Wrexham sold alcohol to underage test purchase volunteers during a recent exercise jointly organised by Wrexham Council’s Trading Standards Service and North Wales Police.

The volunteers, two girls aged fifteen, were sold alcohol in five of the ten premises visited. Sales assistants and one member of bar staff received £80 fixed penalty notices and the licensees are under scrutiny. Staff at the other premises requested Proof of Age and as a result refused to sell.

The exercise follows on from similar operations throughout the year. In previous exercises in which off licences throughout the Wrexham area have been targeted, only three test purchase attempts resulted in sales. The remaining forty three attempts resulted in refusals, often following requests to provide proof of age.

Unfortunately, five of the recent test purchase attempts made at pubs in the North of Wrexham resulted in sales.

Wrexham Community Safety Partnership currently fund the post of a Trading Standards Enforcement Officer for Age Restricted Products, whose role includes educating retailers and licensees about their responsibilities, organising and conducting test purchasing operations and investigating infringements.

Inspector Alex Goss of North Wales Police said “It is disappointing that premises have sold alcohol to young people who are obviously underage. It is something which we and our fellow organisations in The Wrexham Community Safety Partnership take very seriously and we will continue to actively police this issue”.

Councillor David Bithell, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Environment and Transport said “I’m pleased to see that funding provided by the Community Safety Partnership is leading to effective operations aimed at tackling the serious problem of underage drinking. Underage drinking often leads to young people getting involved in anti-social behaviour and they also risk long term health problems”.

Licensees and their staff are advised to adopt an Over 21 policy and always ask younger customers for Proof of Age.

The 18+ Wrexham Proof of Age Card is free to young people who live or work in Wrexham and is accredited by the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS). Any card which bears a PASS hologram can be accepted as reliable proof of age, photo driving licences and passports are also acceptable. When any proof of age is presented it is important to check that it is being used by the person it was issued to. Any one who wants a card should contact the Trading Standards Service of Wrexham County Borough Council on 01978 292045.


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