Drink warning

PUBLISHED: 12:29 04 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 10 June 2010

DECEIVING adult shoppers who buy alcohol for people under-age in Exmouth have been warned they are breaking the law and will face an £80 fine if caught. And, anyone with information about people purchasing drink for individuals aged under-age 18, have bee

DECEIVING adult shoppers who buy alcohol for people under-age in Exmouth have been warned they are breaking the law and will face an £80 fine if caught.

And, anyone with information about people purchasing drink for individuals aged under-age 18, have been urged to contact Exmouth police.

PC Nick Suthern, neighbourhood team leader, said the issue, called proxy buying, was being taken very seriously and if it continued to be a problem, it could even become an arrestable offence.

The warning follows a spate of incidents in the town last month. This included a drunk 16-year-old girl being treated by paramedics after collapsing in The Maer during the Bank Holiday weekend.

In separate cases, three section 27 dispersal orders were also issued after alcohol was passed into the hands of under 16s.

A police spokesperson said two of the individuals, both female, obtained the drink from homeless people, aged over 18, who offered to purchase it for them.

PC Nick Suthern said: "If we hadn't taken the drink off the girls, you don't know what the consequences could have been.

"The licensing officer here goes round to all the off-licenses, along with neighbourhood beat managers, to advise them of their responsibilities.

"The biggest issue isn't them selling directly to people aged under 18. The problem they have is proxy buying, where people over that age are purchasing alcohol for under 18s."

PC Suthern said an 18-year-old male, who bought alcohol for two under-age drinkers in Exmouth town centre, was also fined £80 last month.

"It is very hard for someone working in a shop to determine whether a person is buying drink for themselves or an individual under the legal age who is waiting around the corner," he added.

"What we try to do is get shopkeepers to have that gut feeling in relation to what a person is buying.

"If you are asked to buy alcohol for people under 18, it is an offence which incurs an £80 fine. It's a very difficult issue for the shops and for us.

"Parents also need to be vigilant. When children are saying they are staying over at their friends' home, they should check.

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