Swindon’s pubs and off-licences put to the test by Wiltshire Police

On the evening of 20 May 2017, volunteers under the age of 18 years old visited twelve off-licence premises and attempted to purchase alcohol. Two of the premises tested sold alcohol to the teens.

Wiltshire Police carried out the test purchase operation in partnership with trading standards.  Staff at Havelock News and Macs News was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and will have their licences reviewed.

The seller of the alcohol to the underage volunteers from Mac News turned out to be an individual who does not have the right to work within the UK.  The Immigration Service has been informed that this individual was working at the premises.

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A second staff member was also seen to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person, which is an offence and they received a Fixed Penalty Notice.  This additional information has been included in the review application for Macs News which will be heard by the Licensing Committee in due course.

The second part of the operation included a test on a number of licenced premises and out of the seven pubs/bars tested only one failed, The Mailcoach.

The staff member was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and Licencing Officers met with the licence holder.  It was agreed that staff will undergo further training and a variation to their premises licence will be made with further conditions to prevent future underage sales.

Licencing Officer Sian Kalynka says, “On this occasion we had very few failures which I think is a very good sign that the majority of our licensed premises are carrying out their responsibilities in relation to underage sales.

“Those that have failed have been issued with advice and guidance to ensure that future sales to underage people are prevented.”

Wiltshire Police Licensing Team will continue to carry out these operations as there is often a link between underage drinking and antisocial behaviour.

All licensees have a responsibility to ensure that all staff is aware of their obligations under the Licensing Act 2003 to ensure that illegal sales of alcohol are not made.

If any licensees are unsure of their duties then they should contact their local police licensing officer or council licensing officers who will be able to provide them with advice and guidance.