Teenage drink crackdown

A COLCHESTER retailer is to be interviewed by police after being “stung” in a crackdown on the sale of alcohol to under-age people.But officers praised other outlets which all behaved correctly and turned away young customers who tried to obtain alcoholic drinks.

A COLCHESTER retailer is to be interviewed by police after being “stung” in a crackdown on the sale of alcohol to under-age people.

But officers praised other outlets which all behaved correctly and turned away young customers who tried to obtain alcoholic drinks.

Thirteen premises with off-licences - ranging from supermarkets to corner shops - were put to the test in two special operations earlier this month.

These involved teenagers calling at the retailers and asking to be served with alcoholic drink.


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In all but one case the youngster was asked to provide proof of age and subsequently left having been unable to make the purchase.

Before the visits, the shops concerned had received a letter from police emphasising their responsibility to ask for identification along with a poster to remind them of the law.

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They were then called on by the test customers, all of whom were teenagers under the age of 18 and gave their time voluntarily.

A spokesman said: “The licence holder of the shop who failed the test will now be interviewed with a view to a caution being issued. This is normal practice for a first offence.

“A repeat under-age sale is likely to lead to prosecution and a third offence would put the shop at risk of steps being taken to revoke its licence to sell alcohol.

“The maximum penalty for selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 19 is currently a £1,000 fine.”

Colchester police licensing officer Michael Aitchison said: “A lot of effort has gone into advising licensees of their responsibility and it is encouraging that the message seems to be getting through.

“We are sure that all responsible licensees will understand the need for us to continue to monitor the situation by carrying out more test purchase operations in future.”

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