FINES FOLLOW UNDER AGE DRINKING CRACKDOWN
|Published: 25th July 2007 09:58|
PUB employees and off licence staff have been ordered to pay fines totalling more than £1,000 following a blitz by Trent Valley police against illegal alcohol sales.
Fourteen staff at bars and liquor shops were handed £80 fixed penalty fines during the two month crackdown which targeted premises suspected of selling booze to under 18's.
In addition, two bar supervisors were removed from their jobs; a member of door staff dismissed; a pub tenant lost his lease; a trainee pub manager demoted and a temporary manager moved.
The operation, mounted by police and Staffordshire County Council trading standards officers, involved youngsters aged just 15 and 16 visiting bars and off licences and asking to be served alcohol.
More than 70 visits were made to 20 different premises in Burton, Tamworth, Lichfield and Burntwood.
Out of the 11 pubs visited, nine made at least one illegal sale. Four off licences out of nine sold alcohol to the youngsters.
"The overall aim of the operation was to remind licensees and staff of the responsibility they have in discouraging young people from getting hold of alcohol," explained Trent Valley licensing officer, Sgt Mark Czechowski.
"Under age drinking accounts for a lot of the anti-social behaviour we have to deal with and spot checks on premises can help reduce those problems considerably."
He said the operation showed how as well as financial penalties, licensees, door staff and employees, could face losing their livelihoods if they were caught selling alcohol on a number of occasions.
"I don't accept that people working in these premises aren't suspicious when a young person walks in and tries to buy alcohol," he said.
"The young people we use during these test purchases are well under the age of 18. They are told not to lie about their age or produce any false identity.
"The simple fact is in the majority of cases, they were sold alcohol without question," added Sgt Czechowski.
Figures show that in Burton, the young people made 21 attempts to buy booze but were only successful on three occasions.
At Tamworth, there were six sales during 26 attempts. In Lichfield, there were two sales from eight attempts and at Burntwood, four sales from 15 attempts.