Drink crackdown on A-level results day

SPOT-checks on stores selling alcohol to underage drinkers found almost half were breaking the law.The initiative was carried out in west Suffolk on the same day that hundreds of teenagers celebrated A-level success and the joint partnership behind it hoped the poor results would serve as a timely warning to off-licences.

Dave Gooderham

SPOT-checks on stores selling alcohol to underage drinkers found almost half were breaking the law.

The initiative was carried out in west Suffolk on the same day that hundreds of teenagers celebrated A-level success and the joint partnership behind it hoped the poor results would serve as a timely warning to off-licences.

Random checks on shops across west Suffolk found that 40% of stores sold alcohol to underage customers last Thursday.


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Now the West Suffolk Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), which organised the operation, has warned store owners that it was on the lookout for anyone breaking the law.

John Griffiths, LSP chairman, said: “We hope that this test will serve to prompt off-licences to tighten up their approach to underage alcohol sales - especially as the GCSE results will be coming out soon.

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“We are continuing our training through the West Suffolk LSP's Put A Cork In It campaign and will be focusing on raising awareness amongst more off-licences in September and October.”

Following last week's publication of the A-level results, officers from trading standards and Suffolk police carried out the latest alcohol test purchase operation and found four out of 10 premises sold alcohol to underage customers.

A spokesman for the LSP said: “The test was carried out on A-level results day to see if local retailers would become complacent and assume that the children were over 18 and celebrating their exam results.

“Retailers should always ask to see the customer's ID if there is any doubt about their age, and even those who did receive their A-level results could still be just 17 years old.

Two children aged 14 and 16 attempted alcohol purchases at two premises in Woolpit, one in Haughley and seven in Bury St Edmunds. They walked away with a bottle of Bulmers cider, two bottles of Smirnoff Ice, a can of Guinness and a bottle of Old Speckled Hen. Fixed Penalty Notices were issued to those breaking the law and trading standards will now be making inquiries in relation to possible offences committed by the owners.

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