06 October 2008
Premises that sell alcohol to youngsters "by proxy", that is, when alcohol is purchased for young people by an adult, are to be targeted in a brand new campaign, led by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership.
The partnership, which incorporates organisations including Caerphilly County Borough Council and Gwent Police, has established reducing the harm caused by alcohol as one of its key strategic priorities for the next three years.
The campaign will focus on targeting off licenses throughout the county borough, which in addition to increased interaction between off licenses and Trading Standards and Gwent Police, will also include the distribution of informative posters and window stickers to the premises, highlighting the laws surrounding proxy sales of alcohol.
These posters and window stickers are to be displayed prominently on the premises, and will act both as a warning and a deterrent to people that if they do choose to purchase alcohol on behalf of an under 18, they will be liable for a fine of up to £5000.
A survey conducted for responsible drinking campaigners, The Portman Group shows that nationally, almost one third of adults have been asked to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18.
Shockingly, of those who had been asked, over one third admitted to buying alcohol for a minor.
Caerphilly County Borough Council's cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "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 that they are committing a serious offence, which has consequences for the entire community.
Off licences must also ensure that they and their customers are aware that proxy purchasing is illegal, and that they are doing all they can to prevent it and fulfil their duties as a responsible retailer. This brand new campaign will aim to ensure exactly that."
Chair of the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership, Chief Superintendant Alun Thomas said, "Underage drinking is an aggravating factor in violence and anti social behaviour in our communities, and we take it extremely seriously. We work closely with our colleagues in Trading Standards to carry out visits and test purchase operations at off licenses in the county borough. We are sympathetic to the problems facing some off licenses with the problem of "proxy sales".
The support of responsible retailers is vital and over the coming weeks and months we will be working with them to address their concerns. I would like to reinforce the message that, not only is it extremely irresponsible for adults to buy alcohol on behalf of under 18s, they are breaking the law. Ignorance is not an excuse and we will be taking strong action against offenders".
For further information, contact Trading Standards on 01495 235 291.
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