A £90 fine or day in court awaits anyone buying festive booze for underage drinkers.
That was the message from the Ribble Valley Community Alcohol Partnership, which launched a Christmas crackdown on adults attempting to buy alcohol for young people, known as ‘proxy purchasing’.
Shops displayed posters and handed out leaflets warning that a £90 on-the-spot fine or prosecution awaits adults attempting to buy booze on behalf of the under-18s.
The Ribble Valley Community Alcohol Partnership, comprising Ribble Valley Borough Council, Lancashire Trading Standards, the police, schools, shops and the health sector, was launched in the summer to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people by reducing the sale of alcohol to them, advising them on the dangers of drinking and promoting alcohol-free activities.
Ribble Valley councillor and partnership chairman Robert Thompson said: “Drinking alcohol brings serious risks to children, putting them in danger of physical and social harm. They are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else, fail to reach their potential at school and engage in anti-social behaviour.
“While great progress has been made in reducing direct sales to under-18s via the Challenge 25 scheme, unfortunately youngsters sometimes obtain alcohol when adults buy it on their behalf, known as proxy purchasing.
“The partnership is working hard to raise awareness of this issue and is warning adults that proxy purchasing will not be tolerated during the festive season or indeed any time of the year.”
In 2014, 38 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds in England drank alcohol, with four per cent claiming to drink alcohol at least once a week and a further five per cent saying they drank it once a fortnight.
Community Alcohol Partnerships have enjoyed considerable success across the UK tackling underage drinking with a mix of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.
Further details are available from Ribble Valley Borough Council’s communications unit on 01200 414483 or 07971 978766.