While anyone born pre-2000 will be old enough to purchase alcohol, there is an increased likelihood of under-18s attempting to buy age-restricted products.
Research conducted by a social enterprise that helps operators prevent under-age sales of restricted products, Under Age Sales, showed that one third of 15/16-year-olds will try to purchase alcohol themselves from independent retailers.
The research also found that one in 10 will use a fake ID, while 15% will ask their parents to buy drinks for them.
The company has issued advice on steps that can be taken to protect against types of illegal transactions:
- Implementing a strict age-verification policy is essential and can prevent an illegal sale and consequent fine. Under Age Sales suggests using the Challenge 25 guidelines, meaning anyone attempting to buy alcohol that looks under 25 must provide ID.
- Ensure staff are up to speed with the identification they are allowed to accept as proof of age. Bank cards, national insurance cards or student ID will not suffice. Any ID presented must contain the customer’s photograph, date of birth and a holographic mark, such as a passport, photo driving licence or PASS-accredited proof-of-age card.
- Highlighting formal age verification around a pub via posters, banners, badges and PoS shows customers that licensees are serious about preventing under-age customers from attempting to make a purchase.
- There are also nationally accredited training packages available, which ensure staff are fully trained. Not only can this training make sure staff do not sell products to anyone under the age of 18, but in the unfortunate event that they do slip up and make a mistake, evidence of attending the course will provide the owner with proof of due diligence.
If a licensee does sell an age-restricted product to a minor, the consequence can be extreme. From larges fines of up to £5,000 to jail sentences, operators should ensure that transactions do not ruin their festive period this year.