Trimley St Martin: Crackdown on underage alcohol sales lead to loss of licence for publicans

40% failure rate for pubs and off-licences targeted in underage alcohol test purchasing

40% failure rate for pubs and off-licences targeted in underage alcohol test purchasing - Credit: PA

Four out of every 10 licensed premises targeted in a crackdown on underage sales have sold alcohol to youngsters, according to Suffolk trading standards officers.

Visits have been made to pubs and off-licences in the county over the past eight months as part of an ongoing campaign by trading standards, police and licensing authorities.

The results have led to concerns that some licensees are continuing to sell alcohol to underage youngsters.

One landlord and landlady, David and Deborah Atkinson of The Three Mariners in Trimley St Martin, have had their licences taken away after alcohol was persistently sold to youths.

An initial test purchase took place at the pub in February last year, following intelligence received that drink was being sold to under 18s.

During the visit alcohol was sold to 16 and 17 year olds by Mr Atkinson, who was issued with an £80 on-the-spot fine.

A follow-up test purchase carried out in May resulted in alcohol again being sold to two 17-year-old volunteers without any challenge for ID.

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Following these sales, a licensing sub committee revoked the premises’ licence.

Due to the seriousness of two sales, the Atkinsons were prosecuted for persistently selling alcohol. Both pleaded guilty before Ipswich magistrates.

David Atkinson was fined £577 plus a £20 victim surcharge and had his personal licence revoked.

Mrs Atkinson received a conditional discharge for one year and was ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge, along with £200 costs. She also had her personal licence suspended for six months.

Speaking about the alcohol crackdown Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “These figures are concerning but also demonstrate that the campaign using the intelligence we receive and is targeting the right premises.

“The Three Mariners case demonstrates that through on the spot fines, licence reviews and prosecution, any premises which continues to sell alcohol to under 18s, despite the advice given, will face appropriate but robust enforcement action.”

Trading Standards & Suffolk Police are urging licensees to be particularly vigilant for under 18s attempting to buy alcohol.

Prompts such as stickers on till points can act as a useful prompt for staff to check identification or seek authorisation from another member of staff.

Should anyone have intelligence on premises selling alcohol to under 18s they can report this anonymously to

Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06