Pubs caught selling drink to children

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A THIRTEEN-year-old was served alcohol by a pub during a test purchase operation carried out by police in Morpeth.

Officers carried out a joint operation with Northumberland County Council’s trading standards team in response to concerns being raised about under-age drinking in the town centre.

They targeted four pubs – the White Swan, in Newgate Street, and the Black Bull, Shooters and Chambers, all in Bridge Street – to see if they would serve alcohol to two volunteers, aged 13 and 15.

Staff at the Black Bull and White Swan pubs both challenged the young volunteers and refused to serve them.

Shooters, however, served the 15-year-old with booze, and the 13-year-old volunteer was sold a drink by Chambers without even being asked for any identification.

Acting Inspector Dave Simpson, of Morpeth police, said “I am thoroughly disappointed that licensed premises continue to serve alcohol to those who are under age.

“They have a duty under the 2003 Licensing Act to prevent harm to children. Openly selling alcohol to children as young as 13 indicates that this duty is not being taken seriously.

“Some of the premises we visited, though, were truly professional and refused to serve the children.

“As a result of this operation, three people have been reported for serving alcohol to those under age.

“We will also be passing on the results of this operation to the county council’s licensing department.

“We will also be following up on this operation in the coming weeks and months by using similar tactics to target those selling alcohol to children”.