Bar staff fail booze sting

Police tackle drinking youths.
Police tackle drinking youths.
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PUBS and off-licenses have been targeted in a bid to cut the number of underage drinkers buying booze.

Four volunteer test purchasers, aged 15 and 16, visited 54 shops in Blackpool with police officers to check staff were asking for proof of age.

Only two stores failed, with one selling a two-litre bottle of cider to a 15-year-old boy and another selling alcopops to him.

Off-licence owners welcomed the scheme, but say more now needs to be done to target adults who buy alcohol for under 18s.

Barry McGann, of Layton Wines, on Layton Road, said: “We’re pretty good at IDing everybody, but it’s coming to silly season now. They could put more emphasis on people who buy for underage kids because they seem to walk away scot-free.”

Christina Willis, from Bargain Booze, on Dickson Road, North Shore, added: “We ID virtually everybody and touch wood we’ve never been caught out yet.

“We’ve got a reputation around here for that and kids know it’s a no-go.”

Checks were also made at 23 pubs across the resort, with only two venues failing and selling lager and bottled beer to the teens.

Staff at all of the off-licences checked in the Fylde correctly refused underage sales, however three out of seven pubs allowed the teens to buy booze.

Members of staff who failed to check and made underage sales received an £80 fine. The owners were also spoken to in order to ensure proof of age training for staff will be updated.

PC Darren West, from the police licensing team, said: “Selling alcohol to children, and enabling them to get drunk, can leave them extremely vulnerable and puts their health at risk.”

Coun Norman Hardy, chairman of Blackpool council’s licensing committee, added: “I’m pleased to hear the results were so positive obviously and it’s down to strong enforcement by the council’s trading standards and the police.”