Stiff penalty for off-sales

No alcohol for under 21 age group.
No alcohol for under 21 age group.

TWO off sales in the southside have been told they are not allowed to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

Glasgow’s licensing board is believed to be the first In Scotland to take this step after staff at the two premises were caught selling drink to underage purchasers.

The Extra reported how two weeks ago a worker in Asda in Newton Mearns had been charged by police after selling alcohol to a 16-year-old in a sting operation.

Another business which fell foul of the test purchase was a Shopsmart on Pollokshaws Road where a 16-year-old was sold a two-litre bottle of cider without an age check on whether they were old enough to be served.

Now this store has been permanently banned from selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

A previous attempt to have a blanket ban on under 21s being sold alcohol in off-licenses was beaten in the Scottish parliament – though licensing boards have the power to impose them on a case-by-case basis.

A spokesman for the licensing board said: “There is a strong connection between the sale of alcohol to people who are underage and anti-social behaviour.

“Where an off-license has been found to fail a test purchase, the licensee responsible can therefore expect a robust response from the board.

“In these cases the board decided on a two-pronged approach, which included a period of suspension of their licences.

“In the circumstance, it was also concluded that imposing a condition which permanently bars these shops from selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years was also necessary and appropriate”.

These shops now join an east end outlet which has been given the under 21 ban.

Glasgow’s council leader Gordon Matheson said: “My administration has recognised the destructive influence of excessive drinking, particularly among the young people of Glasgow and when we launched the Joint Action Group on Alcohol last year I promised we would be bold, innovative and tough when tackling the issue.

“I fully support the board’s position on this matter.

“It is utterly unacceptable for anyone to be selling alcohol to underage drinkers given the terrible toll this can have both on those communities forced to put up with anti-social behaviour and of course on the young people themselves.

“The full force of the law must be used to continue to tackle this problem”.