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Test Purchasing Operation - West Oxfordshire

More than half of premises in test serve alcohol to under 18s

A test purchasing operation in West Oxfordshire has produced mixed results with a number of premises being caught serving alcohol to under 18s.

The operation on Friday 4 April saw 14- and 15-year-old teenage volunteers, accompanied by undercover licensing officers, enter licensed premises and off licences and attempt to buy alcohol.

A total of nine businesses were checked in Chipping Norton, Burford and Witney and five failed the test by making a sale to the volunteers.

In Oxfordshire those premises that have failed on two occasions are named: two premises served alcohol to under-aged volunteers on Friday after failing on previous test purchasing operations.

They were the Chequers in Chipping Norton, which previous failed in May 2007, and the Cotswold Arms in Burford, which failed in September 2007.

Two other pubs in Chipping Norton and a pub in Witney also served alcohol to the volunteers, but this was the first time this had occurred and so they will not be named at this time.

On each occasion, the member of staff who served them was issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice at the point of sale, and the manager or licensee informed of the sale.

Chief Inspector Dennis Evernden, police commander for West Oxfordshire said: “These results are disappointing, especially those from Chipping Norton where all three pubs we tested were caught out serving alcohol to under 18s.

“This is not acceptable, especially with the ongoing problems we have with certain youths in our market towns indulging in criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

“We will work with those premises that have failed for the first time to make sure their staff are trained correctly and the right processes are in place. For those who have failed again, this is a final warning for the Chequers and the Cotswold Arms.”

Tony Cope, police licensing officer for Oxfordshire said: “If a licensed premise fails these operations three times, then we consider reviewing their licence and it can be revoked.

“We will be meeting with officials from West Oxfordshire District Council to discuss what actions, if any, will be taken with the Chequers and the Cotswold Arms.

“We would also like to congratulate the Texaco Garage in Chipping Norton, the Londis shop in Chipping Norton, Cotwsold Stores in Chipping Norton and the Royal Oak in Burford, all of which did not sell alcohol to our volunteers.”

Posted : 14/04/2008 14:01:18

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