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Police seek review of Tesco Metro's premises licence in Durham City

Posted 04/04/14

Tesco Metro in the Market Place, Durham City has today (Friday 4th April) been served with an application by Durham Constabulary seeking the review of its premises licence. The application alleges two recent sales of alcohol to a 16 year old test purchaser during a test purchase operation.

The test purchase sales are alleged to have taken place on the 8th and 15th March, involving a 16 year old volunteer and a plain clothed police officer, with both sales recorded on covert cameras.

On the first sale the Police state the test purchaser was able to buy a bottle of Blossom Hill wine (9.5 abv) without any challenge. On the second occasion the Police state the test purchaser was able to buy a bottle of Macon Chardonnay wine (abv 12.5%).

The test purchase visits were part of Operation Cub, a joint operation between Durham Police and Durham County Council.

Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Police said: “As police officers, we see the damaging effects of people drinking alcohol on a daily basis. We also see the dangerous effect it has on young people and reducing this impact is a key priority in Durham.

“We need to ensure that young people are not able to purchase alcohol and that licensed premises do all they can to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors – those that do need to understand that it won’t be tolerated.”

County Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “Operation Cub demonstrates how collaborative working between the police and the local authority here in Durham is working to reduce underage drinking and to protect young people from harm.

“A 16 year old shouldn’t be able to purchase alcohol here in Durham, or anywhere else for that matter. I hope that this sends out a clear message that licensing laws need to be adhered to.”

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, added: “We welcome the continued joint effort between Durham Police and Durham County Council. It is frustrating that these laws are in place to protect young people, yet they need to be policed. Supermarkets need to start taking more responsibility.

“Alcohol can have an immediate effect on our children’s health and it can also have an impact on our children’s safety by making them vulnerable to their own poor decisions and the bad intentions of others.

“Here in the North East we already suffer at the hands of alcohol in this region, with the highest rate of under 18 alcohol-specific hospital admissions and the highest rate of under-18s in alcohol treatment. One of the main problems we face is that alcohol has become a normal part of our society. This is driven by alcohol that is too cheap, too widely available and too heavily promoted.”