Six retailers in the Ventnor and Ryde areas all asked a 15-year-old volunteer for ID when they attempted to buy alcohol.
A variety of premises are checked throughout the year by trading standards and police in ‘test purchase operations’ where an underage person tries to buy an age-restricted item, such as alcohol, cigarettes and knives. Exercises are carried out in pubs, clubs, off-licences and at events.
Amanda Gregory, Isle of Wight Council regulatory services manager, said:
“It is very pleasing all shops refused to sell alcohol, especially as we have seen a handful carry out a sale in other recent exercises.
“Many shops on the Island have adopted Challenge 25 which means they ask anyone who looks under 25 to prove they are over 18.
“Because of the efforts being made in this area, it is now harder for young people to buy alcohol themselves. This in turn helps cut down on anti-social behaviour.”
Retailers face severe consequences if they fail test purchases, including an on the spot £90 fine for the person who made the sale. In the case of repeat failures, a ban from selling alcohol on the premises for up to two weeks can be implemented as well as having their licence taken away or even facing prosecution.
It is also an offence for people to buy alcohol on behalf of someone who is under 18. The penalty can be a £90 fine, but if prosecuted, the fine can be as much as £5,000.
If you are stopped outside a shop and asked to buy alcohol on behalf of a young person, it is important that the shop manager is informed as well as reporting it to police using 101, or by contacting trading standards on (01983) 823370.