Three shops in Lerwick were found selling alcohol to underage drinkers in a test-purchasing exercise undertaken by Northern Constabulary, a meeting of the licensing board heard today.
The three all offered “off-sales”, and failed to verify the age of a young test puchaser who was working with the police. Licensed premises are obliged to check the age of anyone who appears to be under-25, even if they know them.
A total of nine premises were targeted in October by the test purchaser. The three that failed all passed a similar test the following day. The identity of the three is not known.
Executive manager of environmental health and trading standards Maggie Sandison said that premises breaching the law were investigated by police and can be reported to the procurator fiscal, even for a first offence. The procurator fiscal then decides whether or not to pursue the case.
The premises involved receive a written warning and can have their licence to sell alcohol suspended or revoked, or a variation can be placed on their licence, at the discretion of the licensing board.
Mrs Sandison said: “Everybody should be asked for proof of age and young people expect to be asked. Young people are still growing and alcohol impacts on brain development. People drinking earlier are more likely to have risky drinking practices when older.”
She added: “Alcohol is an important part of sales [for shops] and they should protect this by not selling to underage customers.”
The meeting agreed to review the licence of the three premises at a meeting of 25th January. Their identity will be revealed at that time.
The test purchase operation employs a young person from outwith Shetland who is over the age of 16