Closure threat to pubs serving children booze

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PUBS, clubs and off-licences face being shut down for 48 hours over the festive season or prosecution if they are caught serving underage customers, police have revealed.

Officers say they will be visiting the county’s pubs, clubs and off licences in the run-up to Christmas and New Year looking for businesses breaking the law and serving alcohol to children.

They have recruited volunteers, aged 15 and 16, to pose as customers to test whether staff ask their age before serving them.

If businesses fail the test twice, venues will be forced to close for two days or will face prosecution.

The test purchase operation forms part of South Yorkshire Police’s annual crackdown on drink-related crime over Christmas.

Chief Inspector Shaun Morley, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We want to tackle underage drinking over the Christmas period and if we can get the licensed premises to be extra vigilant then we are some way to achieving this.

“We are wanting licensed premises to work with us and hold some responsibility when it comes to underage drinking.

He added: “The test purchasing operations will be targeting those premises where we have relevant intelligence to suggest they are serving alcohol to underage people.

He added: “If a premises fails the first test purchase operation we will inform them, giving them the chance to speak to all members of their staff and rectify the issue.

“If, however, they are caught twice, then tougher action is needed and they will therefore be asked to either close for 48 hours voluntarily or attend court.

Chf Insp Morley added: “By having such robust consequences in place, we are hoping that each premises will think twice about serving someone that looks underage without a valid form of ID.”