Police tackle underage drinking

29 Jan 2016 15:31 PM

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An off-licence in Whitley Bay has had its alcohol licence suspended following police action.

On November 5, officers from the Whitley Bay Neighbourhood Policing Team and staff from North Tyneside Council's Trading Standards team carried out a test purchase operation at Monkseaton News, food and wine in Earsdon road.

A staff member from the shop illegally served an underage volunteer alcohol and police and the council summonsed them to a licensing hearing at North Tyneside Council, during which the Acting Director of Public Health in North Tyneside, Wendy Burke spoke about the dangers associated with underage sales of alcohol.

At the hearing which took place onWednesday, January 20 the shop had its licence to sell alcohol suspended for a period of three months. This means that from Monday, February 1 to Saturday, April 30 the shop cannot sell alcohol from the store. 

The operation was on the back of concerns received from the local community about alcohol-related disorder in the area.

Whitley Bay Neighbourhood Inspector, Neil Armsworth said: "Police are significantly concerned about the vulnerable situations that young people can find themselves in as a result of alcohol consumption and the impact this can have upon them.

"As a result the test purchase was carried out in partnership with the council and is just one of a number of initiatives and tactics being used to both educate and prevent this from happening.

"We have a good working relationship with the business owners and licensees in the area and it's disappointing that the staff at Monkseaton news were found to have sold alcohol to a child.

"We will be making follow-up visits to the shop, and others in the area, to make sure they are aware of the requirements of their licence and that they stick to them."

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: "This activity demonstrates that our officers in North Tyneside are listening to the public’s concerns and are taking action against people who are illegally selling alcohol to those underage.

"This suspension is a result of excellent partnership work between Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council and it forms part of an ongoing commitment to tackling this issue."

Wendy Burke, North Tyneside Council’s Acting Director of Public Health said: "The health and safety of children in the borough is of paramount importance.

"Not only can underage have serious consequences on a child’s physical and mental health, drinking alcohol can make young people more vulnerable to being victims of crime and put them at a greater risk of engaging in dangerous or damaging behaviour.

"License holders have a duty to safeguard children, which is stated in their license agreement, and we will not tolerate those who breach this.

"Our trading standards team will continue to undertake test purchasing with the police, while also working with shop owners to help them understand the importance of acting responsibly and within the law, to prevent further sales of underage sales."

Trading standards is delivered by Capita on behalf of North Tyneside Council.

Anyone with concerns about under-age drinking in the community is asked to contact police on 101.