Cheltenham Test Purchase Operation - Alcohol

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Cheltenham Test Purchase Operation - Alcohol

Off licences in the Cheltenham area were visited during a test purchase operation to clamp down on sales of alcohol to underage drinkers.

On Tuesday February 27 a total of 10 premises were visited by officers accompanied by a 15-year-old youth.

While staff in eight of the premises refused to sell alcohol to the boy, two shop assistants did sell cans of cider and lager to the boy and further action is being taken against them.

PC Mark Love, who organised the operation, said: "We visited off licences in Fairview, Montpellier, Hewlett Road, Winchcombe Street, and the Lower High Street, Cheltenham.

"While the majority of staff acted responsibly and asked for identification from our test purchaser, then refused to sell him alcohol, two members of staff at premises in Cheltenham did sell him alcohol without asking for any identification.

"Clearly this is not only irresponsible but also illegal and we will be taking further enforcement action against the individuals and the premises concerned.

"This type of operation is far from rare in Cheltenham as we take our duty to enforce licensing regulations, particularly where underage drinking is concerned, very seriously.

"We hope that other licensees and their staff will take this as a warning and ensure they always comply with their responsibilities and legislation."

PC Andy Cook, licensing officer for Cheltenham and Tewkesbury police, added: "Within the last 18 months we have conducted 167 test purchases in our area and 37 per cent of premises have failed.

"This is a shocking statistic and some of the premises which have not failed, including in this latest operation, have very nearly sold alcohol to our test purchaser.

"Off licences in this area will be coming under very close scrutiny until we see a significant improvement.

"We will conduct operations of this type on a monthly basis in the hope the licensees pull their socks up."

Posted : 01/03/2007 21:55:45

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