PEOPLE buying alcohol for underage drinkers in Wigan could be fined £5,000 under a new scheme.
Police and Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team have joined forced with shop owners to help combat the problem of underage drinking by making sure people are aware of the consequences and the health risks underage drinking poses.
The THINK, DON’T BUY U18s DRINK campaign will be prominently displayed on fluorescent green lamp post signs outside off-licences as well as on posters inside shops.
Giant posters have also been appearing across the borough, featuring graphic images aimed at driving home the risks and consequences associated with alcohol in young hands.
As well as cutting the health risks to young people associated with drinking at an early age, it is hoped the campaign will help tackle anti-social behaviour.
Speaking at the launch, at the Spar store on Bordsdane Avenue in Hindley, Inspector Anne Scott from Hindley Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Some retailers work very closely with Trading Standards and the Police to prevent children from getting hold of alcohol, and we value their support.
“By working in partnership, we can all play a part in minimising risks to young people and the damage caused to communities by alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.
“Perception of anti-social behaviour doesn’t always accurately reflect the true scale of the problem, sometimes far exceeding the reality.
“So high profile campaigns such as this help to redress the balance by improving community confidence and reducing the fear of crime.”
The campaign has been part-funded by the Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP), a Home Office initiative designed to raise awareness around serious violent crime amongst young people.
Stuart Swann, manager of the Spar in Bordsdane Avenue, Hindley, said: “Anything we can do to raise awareness around proxy sales is positive because people, particularly younger adults, think there’s no harm in buying alcohol for children.
“But the simple fact is kids can’t handle it.
“Some don’t realise the impact that alcohol has on young people and don’t consider what it can lead to.
“I’d like to encourage other off-licences and shops to support the Responsible Retailers scheme because the advice and training they get from Trading Standards gives staff confidence to deal with this issue.”
For free and confidential advice on alcohol, call the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team on 01942 777 720.
If you are aware of proxy sales taking place in your neighbourhood, contact Wigan Trading Standards in confidence on 01942 827476.
To report a crime, call Greater Manchester Police on 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.