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1 March 2011, 12:45 | Updated: 8 March 2011, 12:06
There’s been a big reduction in illegal sales of alcohol and tobacco to young people in North Dorset.
Over the past three years the number of direct sales to those under age during test purchase exercises in local shops has fallen from 22% to 5 %.
The figures are being put down to collaboration between Dorset County Council’s Trading Standards service, Dorset Police, North Dorset District Council and NHS Dorset as well as local retailers.
Dorset Trading Standards which has responsibility to prevent and detect the sale of age-restricted products to young people, occasionally in conjunction with Dorset Police and the local licensing authority carries out test purchase exercises across the county. A recent test purchase exercise was carried out at 17 shops and off-licences in the Blandford, Shaftesbury and Gillingham areas, and not one premises sold alcohol or tobacco to the under-age volunteer.
Richard Herringshaw, a Principal Trading Standards Officer for Dorset County Council, said:
“It is extremely pleasing to see retailers taking their responsibilities so seriously. Under-18s who obtain alcohol and tobacco often put themselves at risk, especially when they consume alcohol in unsupervised situations.”
Inspector Shawn Whitley, Section Commander for North Dorset, said:
“This is the result of a real effort on the part of all of the partners. We meet regularly to discuss crime and anti-social behaviour in North Dorset and to plan our response. North Dorset is a very safe place to live but from time to time problems such as under age drinking flare up.
While retailers are one source of alcohol and tobacco we know that young people will ask their older friends and even strangers to buy it for them. We would urge these people to refuse. They could be putting the young person’s health at risk and may contribute to any subsequent anti-social behaviour that the rest of the community has to suffer”.
If you know of someone who regularly purchases alcohol to give to under-18s you can report it to Dorset Police on 01305/ 01202 222222