Youngsters buy alcohol

PUBLISHED: 09:37 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:23 10 May 2010

Stock photo for under-aged drinking.
Taken at Dunmow Recreation Ground.
Photo by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows:Posed photo taken with full knowledge and permission of those pictured. Contact: Daniel Cockrell on 07789995872.

Stock photo for under-aged drinking. Taken at Dunmow Recreation Ground. Photo by Michael Boyton. Pic shows:Posed photo taken with full knowledge and permission of those pictured. Contact: Daniel Cockrell on 07789995872.

A LICENSED premises in Dunmow has illegally sold alcohol to youngsters, fuelling the problem of underage drinking, an investigation has revealed. Essex County Council (ECC) Trading Standards carried out a test purchase of alcohol at a retailer in the tow

A LICENSED premises in Dunmow has illegally sold alcohol to youngsters, fuelling the problem of underage drinking, an investigation has revealed.

Essex County Council (ECC) Trading Standards carried out a test purchase of alcohol at a retailer in the town last Wednesday (October 29).

The shop failed the test and sold alcohol to an underage volunteer.

A spokesman for ECC said he was disappointed with the result and described underage alcohol sales as "simply unacceptable".

"The shop will be retested in the near future, and ECC will take action if results do not improve. Our aim is to keep communities safe and protect the health of young people, and we will not hesitate to seek prosecution or licence reviews if shops jeopardise this by ignoring our warnings."

Trading Standards refused to name the offending retailer, but said they would be made public if they failed on a second occasion. The shop was issued with a fixed penalty notice and warned about their future conduct.

Antisocial behaviour coordinator for Uttlesford District Council, Fiona Gardiner, said a lot of work was being done by the crime and disorder reduction partnership to tackle underage drinking, but shops that sold alcohol to minors did not make her job any easier.

"We will work with Trading Standards and the police to resolve the issue. In most cases it's a matter of education." she said.

"Underage drinking is not a huge problem in the town, but there are pockets where it can be found. As part of an on-going operation we have been out with the police in the evenings to talk to youngsters about the dangers of drinking and confiscate alcohol."

The shop was targeted by Trading Standards on the back of intelligence received by the police.

The underage volunteer used to make the test purchase was supervised by officers throughout the process. They were not made to look any older than they were, and did not lie about their age when challenged.

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