Police appeal for retailer assistance

Campaign aims to cut underage drinking

The ‘You’re asking for it’ campaign is now being piloted in South Lanarkshire

RETAILERS are being asked to support a police crackdown on those who purchase alcohol for under-18s.

The ‘You’re asking for it’ campaign is being piloted in East Kilbride and Strathaven in South Lanarkshire following a successful trial in North Lanarkshire and Leith.

In a bid to prevent ‘proxy purchasing’, the scheme sees local bodies work together to let people know that buying alcohol for under-18s can lead to a £5,000 fine or three months in prison.

Speaking to Scottish Grocer, Sergeant Paul Doyle, of the East Kilbride Police Office, said that the problem was one seen “through most communities.”

“A lot of the campaign is focused on trying to educate shop workers and licensees of things to look out for that might indicate that proxy purchasing is going on.

“You might get youths hanging out around the shop, directly asking people to come in.

“You might know of a guy coming in who usually buys four cans of Stella on a Friday night, and this time he is in buying four cans of Stella and six bottles of Mad Dog. So unusual purchases.

“Someone coming in with a load of change would also indicate that a bunch of people have chipped in for the carry out.

“If retailers spot these signs, we are encouraging them to either challenge the person and ask them some questions, or refuse the sale.”

Doyle stressed that it was in retailers’ own interests to refuse proxy purchases, as they could themselves be subject to a criminal charge and potentially lose their alcohol licence.

“A lot of the shopkeepers are  also keen to come on board because whenever they get proxy purchase sales it means youths hanging around the shop: maybe causing issues, hassling their customers and bringing the reputation of the shop down.”