Responsible drinks retailing update

09 March, 2007

A regular round-up of the latest developments among shops, local authorities and the police in the fight against under-age alcohol sales

Wigan council has joined forces with Trading Standards and police to set up an Alcohol Partnership Group. Leaflets warning retailers that selling alcohol to under-18s can result in a "£5,000 hangover" have been issued to all off-licences in the Leigh and Atherton area as part of the clampdown scheme.

The group, which unites members of Wigan Council's Anti-social Behaviour Unit, Community Safety Team and Greater Manchester Police, will primarily concentrate on off-licences that have sold to under-18s in the past. Chief trading standards officer Alan Blundell said: "One major way that young people get alcohol is through off-licences. It must be said that the vast majority of the borough's off-licences abide by the law and do all they can to prevent under-age sales, but there are a few with who we are still experiencing difficulties."

He added: "We do not want to take a heavy-handed approach, but to work with these businesses and offer them the help, advice and support they need to do the right thing."

In Lancashire, bottles of alcohol are being given identification tags in a four-week campaign called RU18 . Posters will go up in off-licences in the Bury area, warning adults that they will be fined up to £1,000 if they are caught buying alcohol for children. Rachel Sayers of Burysafe said: "This operation centres on enforcement. We will do whatever is necessary to crackdown on the levels of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour that residents are suffering in the area. Those responsible for supplying alcohol to under-age drinkers will be penalised heavily ."

In the latest fight against under-age drinking in Northern Ireland, representatives from Derry council, police, health authorities and other key agencies in the city have united to form a Civic Alcohol Forum.

At a forum meeting the Mayor of Derry, councillor Helen Quigley, stressed the need for collective leadership in clamping down on alcohol misuse and implementing long-term change.

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