The Rockstone pub failed two underage test purchase operations and cannot serve any alcohol for five days next month (August).
The closure notice was issued under section 169A(2) of the Licensing Act 2003. Legal specialist Poppleston Allen explained this means when the police have evidence of “persistently selling alcohol to children”, where two or more underage sales have happened at the premises in three months, they can prosecute to license holder of the premises or issue a closure notice.
As the the closure notice was accepted, which can range from 48 hours to 14 days, the licensee cannot be prosecuted for the same offence. This closure prevents the sale of alcohol from the site for the period of the notice but it does not mean the venue cannot be open for other activities.
The Rockstone commented on Hampshire Police’s Facebook page and said: “Due to an error in training and administration, the Rockstone will not be permitted to sell alcohol between 12midnight on Tuesday 2 August 2016 and 12midnight on Sunday 7 August 2016. We will be offering food and a selection of non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks during this period.
“As stated above, we are prohibited from serving alcohol after failing two police spot checks based on the ‘Challenge 25’ policy. On each occasion, the member of staff who failed the spot check was fined £90. On the second occasion, Rockstone management took the decision to dismiss the employee who failed the spot check.
“As with all outlets selling alcohol and on strict advice from the local licensing authority, the Rockstone operates a strict Challenge 25 policy and all our staff have been trained to request proof of identity from all people ordering alcoholic beverages who appear to be under 25 years of age. These recent occasions were the first and only occasions that we have failed a spot check since we opened in 2011.”
The statement continued: “The Rockstone is a welcoming, family-friendly gastropub that primarily sells food and premium alcoholic drinks to an audience largely falling into the 25-34 age range. We do not condone or encourage underage drinking. We have never targeted young drinkers or encouraged a binge-drinking culture in any way.”
The post also said that the pub has made donations to Alcohol Concern to show how much it understands the harm caused by alcohol and offered its sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause to customers.
Find out here when to serve alcohol with 16 and 17-year-olds with a meal.