Targeting people buying alcohol for underage drinkers

LICENSEES in Eastbourne are being urged to be on the lookout for people buying alcohol for underage drinkers.

Sussex Police recently reported that licensed premises in Eastbourne visited by underage volunteers in the run up to Christmas had all successfully refused to serve alcohol.

However, police want licensees to also be on the look out for proxy alcohol purchasing.

Neighbourhood Police Inspector Rachel Barrow said, “I would like to commend the licensees who were targeted in our undercover operation last year and successfully complied with the law.

“However, what is more difficult for licensees to detect is proxy purchasing were an adult buys alcohol on behalf of a child.

“I would urge staff to try and be aware of this type of purchasing. Please check if there are children hanging around outside the premises as the next customer buying alcohol could be buying it for them.

“If staff suspect that this is the case, our advice is to refuse service. The penalty for the person buying the alcohol can be an £80 on the spot fine or up to £5000 if prosecuted.

“Also, the retailer selling the alcohol can be responsible if they sell alcohol to an adult knowing it is being purchased on behalf of child. If they commit this offence the penalties are the same as those for the proxy purchaser but in addition, if the seller is the designated premises supervisor they will be prosecuted and a review of their premises licence will follow.

“I would also ask that parents take more responsibility as many young people obtain alcohol from their homes and either drink that before going out with their friends or drink it on the street with their friends.”

The force is asking businesses which sell alcohol to work in partnership with Sussex Police and play their part by raising awareness with staff regarding the issue of proxy purchasing and report any suspicions to the police by calling 0845 6070999.