Our trading standards officers worked with Derbyshire police in the Ilkeston area following concerns about anti-social behaviour and underage drinking in the town.
Two 17-year-old volunteers attempted to buy alcohol from off-licences in the Ilkeston area and of the 19 shops visited, seven sold alcohol to the under aged volunteers.
Follow-up visits were made by trading standards officers together with police licensing officers to the shops that sold the alcohol and all were advised of the sale and given advice to try to prevent further sales in future.
Another test purchasing exercise will be carried out in the area and any repeated sales will result in formal enforcement action being taken.
It is against the law to sell alcohol to people under 18 years old under the Licensing Act 2003. Traders found breaking the law can be fined up to £20,000 for repeat offences and they also run the risk of losing their alcohol licence.
Our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:
“This test purchasing exercise was carried out in response to concerns raised by the police about anti-social behaviour which they believed was being fuelled by underage drinking.
“As it was possible people could be buying alcohol from local shops we worked with the police to take steps which could prevent this in future.
“Selling alcohol to underage people is serious and while the traders who broke the law received a warning and advice this time, if they are found to be breaking the law again the consequences could be more serious.
“Officers were happy to advise and give tips to traders to ensure they don’t fall foul of the law again. This included ensuring they ask for proof of age, operate a Challenge 25 policy, keep a log of refused sales and ensure all staff are trained to be vigilant.”
PC Toni Williams, from the police licensing team that took part in the operation, said:
“The sale of alcohol to those who are underage has a real effect on our communities and these test purchases are an important tool in our fight against issues such as anti-social behaviour.
“We have been back to those licensed premises that were found to be selling to young people without checks and ensured that strong words of advice were given and they received all the information to ensure that it does not happen again.
“We routinely undertake test purchases and licensed premises should assume that any young person entering could be another volunteer there to check on their work.
“If people believe that a premises is selling alcohol to anyone who is underage they can report it to the force or council in confidence.”
You can report concerns online or by phoning the Consumer Advice Line on 0808 223 1133