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9 April 2010, 09:56
Shops across Oxfordshire are getting better at ID-ing people wanting to buy alcohol.
Thames Valley Police have been carrying out under-cover tests to see whether shops ID their 'mystery underage shoppers'.
Young volunteers have been helping police by going into shops and trying to buy booze. If they are able to get served without proof of age, officers have the power to issue the individual serving them with an £80 fine.
In some cases, they can be taken to court and face up to a £5,000 fine if found guilty. The business itself could potentially lose its licence to sell alcohol.
Out of 207 licenced shops checked last year, 76% passed the test. This is an increase on last year’s 67% passed.
Of those that failed, seven were successfully prosecuted this year. Last year, there were three successful prosecutions.
Thames Valley Police’s Licensing Officer, Tony Cope, said: "The improvement shown by this year’s test purchasing results is very encouraging. Not only have we tested more premises this year, but we have also seen a much higher pass rate, and more successful prosecutions of those that failed.
"It shows that our message is getting across and licensees are checking for proof of age. The link between underage drinking and anti-social behaviour is clear and this is just another method we use to tackle the issue, and help make Oxfordshire safer."
Tony Cope explains alcohol test purchasing