The vigilance of shop workers has been praised after just one venue failed a police test purchasing operation carried out on off-licences in Lancaster.
Police, working in conjunction with Trading Standards officers and volunteer teenage test purchasers, carried out the test purchase operation on Saturday night, visiting 11 establishments across the city.
In the one off-licence which failed, the 15-year-olds were able to buy a bottle of wine without being challenged for ID but in all of the other stores the teens were asked for proof of age and sales were then refused.
The off-licence that failed to carry out the correct procedure will now face a licence intervention, where the licensee will have to meet with the police licensing officer to discuss how underage sales can be avoided in the future. The worker who served the alcohol has been given an £80 fine.
“Selling alcohol to children is not only against the law but can also put these children at risk from harm," says licensing officer PC Graeme Cheetham. “I was pleased to see that the vast majority of staff in off-licences that the teens visited were aware of their responsibilities and took action not to serve our test purchasers.
“We will continue to carry on with our enforcement of the legislation over the coming months and will take robust action against those who pay scant regard to their responsibilities when it comes to refusing sales to under-18s.”
Police are now looking for teenagers to assist with future test purchase operations. Volunteers must be aged 13 – 16, must look their age and be willing to take part for around five hours on an occasional basis. Parental consent must be given.
Full training is given; volunteers are supervised at all times and will be collected from, and returned to their home addresses. Refreshments are provided and participants are provided with a small gratuity for their efforts.
• Please e-mail Graeme.firstname.lastname@example.org and Julia.Whitehead@lancashire.pnn.police.uk with your name, address, date of birth and your parents name and contact number and a brief paragraph as to why you are interested in becoming a test purchaser.