Facebook drink site closed

19 March, 2010

A Nottingham man has been given a 12-month community order after running a business supplying alcohol to under-18s through Facebook.

Richard Wright, 27, of Wheatley Drive, Carlton, in the city, was caught after a police sting operation in which a 15-year-old boy ordered a bottle of vodka, cans of beer and other drinks, which were to be delivered to a fictitious address in the Beeston area of Nottingham.

Nottingham magistrates heard that spirits and beer could be bought on Wright’s Booze Monkeys page on Facebook. Booze Monkey is local slang for someone who purchases alcohol for under-age drinkers by proxy.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind where enforcement agencies have combined to catch criminals selling alcohol to under-age drinkers through a social networking site.

Wright pleaded guilty to selling alcohol to a person under 18 and also to selling alcohol without a licence.

He was given a 12-month community order and told he must complete 100 hours of unpaid work. Wright was also ordered to pay £85 costs. The Booze Monkeys page has been removed after Facebook learned of the operation.

A spokesman for the company said: “Marketing alcohol-related content without appropriate age-based restrictions is prohibited on Facebook and the page has now been removed.”?Mick Murphy, Nottinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “This case was the first of many where Trading Standards will combine with the police and other agencies to share intelligence and take action to stop children accessing alcohol.

“Anyone – whether licensed or unlicensed – who sells alcohol to children will be a priority target.”

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