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Businesses investigated after selling alcohol to children

14 August 2019

Bottles of alcoholic drinks.

Businesses selling alcohol are being warned that underage drinking will not be tolerated after 2 premises were caught selling alcohol to under-18s.

19 licensed premises across the borough were targeted as part of test purchasing exercise last month, which saw 2 17-year-old volunteers attempting to buy alcohol in licensed premises.

Some premises were chosen for testing due to allegations that underage sales were taking place or because they had conducted underage sales in the past.

The test purchases, conducted by our trading standards team, found that the underage volunteers were able to purchase alcohol from 2 shops.

Of the 19 premises visited, 13 asked for photographic identification. Both of the shops who completed the illegal sales failed to ask for ID.  

Councillor Sara Rowbotham, our cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Underage drinking is an issue we take very seriously as it puts the health, wellbeing and safety of the borough's young people at risk.

"The irresponsible sales of alcohol to underage children are unacceptable and it's great to see the team taking action against those who break the law."

The Licensing Act 2003 makes it an offence to sell alcohol to someone under 18-years-old.

Full investigations will now be conducted into the 2 premises and appropriate action will be taken. This could mean the premises receive warnings, cautions, prosecutions or licence reviews, depending on their previous history and other intelligence.

The test purchasing exercise was part of our crackdown on underage sales during the Greater Manchester safe4summer campaign which promotes activities for young people and tackles anti-social behaviour.

We regularly test licensed premises and retail outlets to prevent dangerous age-restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco and knives being sold to children.

Businesses are advised to operate a Challenge 25 policy, which means asking for photographic identification from anyone who appears to be under 25. Once asked to produce identification, a sale should only be made once a customer proves they are over 18.

Residents with concerns about any suspected supply of alcohol, tobacco or other age restricted products to children should report it via the confidential Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.