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Call for tougher punishment for proxy purchase of alcohol

22 November, 2013

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed a new report calling for tougher punishments for parents, friends and older siblings who buy alcohol for young people.

The report, carried out for ACS by influential thinktank Demos, recommends that people who buy alcohol on behalf of underage drinkers should face community service, social shaming or being banned from shops altogether.

The report also suggests that the police should have the ability to impose a maximum fine of £5,000 for people convicted of purchasing alcohol on behalf of a minor.

Other findings from the report include:

one third of 11-15 year olds (33%) admitted obtaining alcohol in the previous four weeks, with one in five (19%) given the alcohol by parents, while the same percentage also said they had received it from their friends;

about one in seven teenagers (13%) had also asked someone else to buy alcohol for them, compared with only 3% who had illegally purchased it from a shop themselves;

in a four-year timespan, just 16 people were successfully prosecuted for purchasing alcohol on behalf of a child.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Every day thousands of shop owners and workers are on the front line of tackling alcohol related harm, preventing underage sales and sales to drunks. They also engage with the wider community.

“We are pleased Demos has shone a light on the important role that shops play. The report also sets out some important challenges for the industry and policy makers about how we move forward and address the problems that remain in our communities. We look forward to the debate that will follow this important report.”