Underage drinkers to target Fife pubs in sting operations

02 May 2006
Underage drinkers to target Fife pubs in sting operations

Fife's 900 licensed premises will be visited by underage drinkers from this summer in a pilot sting operation designed to see if they are upholding the law on selling alcohol to minors.

The "alcohol test purchasing" pilot will run for 12 months under the supervision of Fife Police.

It is intended to test out the fairness and effectiveness of the system, which will be allowed under the new Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

This is expected to come into force around 2009.

The 16-17-year-old agent provocateurs will look their age and be required to tell the truth if challenged about their age.

Scottish Executive deputy health minister Lewis MacDonald said: "Its yardstick for success will not be the number of prosecutions but how we can reduce underage sales by making off-licences, shops, supermarkets and pubs more aware of their responsibilities.

The move was welcomed by the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA), which felt that responsible retailers had nothing to fear.

"The fact that the Executive are proceeding with a pilot scheme in Fife prior to the introduction of full test purchasing will be welcomed by the trade and should give the industry time to adjust to the new ‘no proof no sale' requirements under the new Licensing (Scotland) Act," said SBPA chief executive Patrick Brown.

Licensing Scotland Act 2005 >>

By Angela Frewin

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