Mum’s plea after teen drink shock

Penny Jones with daughter, Tia Brennan, who spent three days in hospital after someone bought her alcohol
Penny Jones with daughter, Tia Brennan, who spent three days in hospital after someone bought her alcohol
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A FEARFUL mum today begged adults to ignore alcohol pleas from children after her 13-year-old daughter got so drunk she ended up in hospital.

Penny Jones says the public need to be aware of the dangers faced by youngsters after her daughter Tia Brennan collapsed in the street.

Mrs Jones received a call to say Tia had been found slumped on a street in South Shore.

The St Mary’s High School pupil had downed half a bottle of vodka bought by an older acquaintance.

She was kicked out of a house party for being too drunk and had been left alone on a freezing street until someone called an ambulance.

So serious was her condition, Tia was kept in Blackpool Victoria Hospital for three days following the incident.

Then on Friday, a passer-by outside an off license agreed to buy Tia and her friends a bottle of Lambrini – much to Tia’s mother’s horror.

Mum of three, Mrs Jones (right, with Tia), 40, from Gloucester Avenue, said: “I appreciate Tia and her friends are not angels for asking people to buy them alcohol, but at the end of the day they are very young teenagers and are vulnerable.

“I was furious when I found out Tia had been drinking again.

“I urge people to think what if it was a member of their family – their daughter or sister – being put at risk?

“Everybody needs to take responsibility, parents, off licenses, police and members of the public because I am scared one day a teenager might die.”

The practice of adults buying booze for children is known as ‘proxy purchasing’ and has been the subject of police and Trading Standards’ crackdowns in recent years.

If caught the adult faces an on-the-spot penalty of £80 or a court fine of up to £5,000.

But this is not deterring those who seem only too happy to flout the law by buying drink for young children.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: “Shops and off-licences do seem to be getting the message about selling to under-18s.

“But this does mean some youngsters are trying to get alcohol in other ways, such as from home or by getting adult customers to buy it for them.

“Tackling proxy purchasing is vital if we are to stop alcohol getting into the hands of youngsters.

“Those who buy alcohol on behalf of children need to know they are committing a serious offence, which has consequences for the entire community.”

Dr Chris Shorrocks, consultant gastroenterologist and liver specialist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said it was vital both adults and children realised the dangers of alcohol.

He said: “I think no matter how much you warn your children, many will experiment with alcohol.

“Nobody was warned more than my children, yet when my son was 14, I came home to find him being loaded into an ambulance because he was totally inebriated.

“ A lot of it comes from peer pressure. They think it’s big and clever in front of their friends, but they are putting themselves at risk of real harm.

“It’s very common to see teenagers in A&E, it is a nationwide problem. Teenagers can more often than not find a way of getting alcohol, either from older friends or asking strangers.

“The key message is alcohol can be fatal.”

Dr Shorrock said youngsters needed only “a relatively small amount” to become intoxicated and put themselves at risk.

He said: “You can become unconscious and more likely to inhale you own vomit and choke.

“Health risk asides, you are lowering your inhibitions which can make you vulnerable.

“You could be sexually assaulted or, at this time a year, you could fall unconscious outside which can lead to hypothermia.

“People need to be responsible and realise the risks of buying alcohol for young teenagers.

“It is a criminal offence and can have extremely serious consequences.”

Mrs Jones has said she will be keeping an ever tighter rein on Tia’s movements from now on.

She added: “I always want to know where she is going and who she is with. Peer pressure is a dangerous thing and I can’t keep her under lock and key permanently.

“I froze with terror when I got the phone call on November 5. I thought she was at her friend’s house.

“It makes me sick to think what could have happened to her.”