Adults, retailers and licensed premises are being reminded to adopt a zero tolerance approach to serving alcohol to under 18s as the summer holidays continue.
It is part of Cherwell District Council’s series of messages designed to minimise the risk of child sexual exploitation .
This includes reducing opportunities for young people to access alcohol, by encouraging all responsible adults and traders to work together.
Cllr Tony Ilott, Cherwell’s lead member for public protection, said: “We are not intending to be killjoys, the exact opposite. We want our young people to enjoy their summer for all of the right reasons and that means being able to make good, safe decisions with a clear head. It’s no secret that alcohol can cloud judgement and make people vulnerable. While incidents of child sexual exploitation are incredibly rare, they do happen and it’s circumstances such as someone being drunk that perpetrators take advantage of.
“While someone may think buying alcohol for a young person or serving them in a bar is aiding to them to have a good time, it is against the law and in reality they could be placing them at serious risk. The lifelong safety of a child is more important than a one-time party so in the best interests of all concerned, we would urge everyone to support us in adopting a zero-tolerance approach.”
In the UK only adults over the age of 18 can purchase alcohol. However, young people aged 16 or 17 can have wine, beer or cider brought for them with a meal in a pub or restaurant if they are with someone over the age of 18.
However it is against the law to sell alcohol to someone under 18 which can lead to premises receiving a maximum fine of £20,000 as well as a risk of closure, while those who buy alcohol on behalf of a minor could be fined up to £5,000. It is also a criminal offence to use false or borrowed ID to gain entry to licensed premises or to buy alcohol and is punishable by a fine of up to £5,000 and up to ten years in prison.
Trading Standards have the power to carry out test purchases on any site which they suspect of selling alcohol to minors while Thames Valley Police can confiscate alcohol from people of any age if they suspect it will be drunk by someone under the age of 18.