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Pub promises clamp down after underage drink sales

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 04, 2014

03/01/14 GV of Cooper's Tavern - Cross Street, Burton Coopers Tavern, Cross Street..

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A RAFT of preventative measures have been put in place at a town centre pub after a member of staff was found to have sold alcohol to children.

The Coopers Tavern, in Burton’s Cross Street, was caught out during a police test purchase in September, when a 16-year-old was able to go to the bar and purchase a bottle of cider.

The member of bar staff who served the teen said he ‘presumed’ she was over 21, so, in line with policy, he had not thought to ask for identification.

Pub landlady Mary Bagley said: “I have been here for seven years, and it’s the first time I am aware of anyone underage being sold alcohol.

“A new member of staff was left on their own for two minutes on a busy Friday night. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances.”

The pub was one of many which were tested in the autumn as part of a police operation clamping down on underage drinking.

The young people used for the test purchases are chosen by police because they are deemed to look their age, rather than older.

In common with others which failed the exercise – including the Devonshire Arms and the Olde Royal Oak, in Burton – the pub has now been called for a licensing hearing by East Staffordshire Borough Council.

The review, which is due to take place on Wednesday, will recommend that the pub implements Challenge 25, a scheme which makes it mandatory to request ID from anyone who looks under that age.

Ms Bagley said she had already put this in place, and agreed it was a positive step.

“It’s so difficult nowadays. You look at these young girls and you think ‘are they or aren’t they?’ If you’ve got Challenge 25, you find most people will have their ID out before they even get to the bar,” she added.

Staff have been given further training, and posters have been put up around the pub, she told the Mail.

At a recent licensing hearing about other pubs, Sergeant Tracey Carsley, from the area’s police licensing unit, said underage sales were a real problem in Staffordshire, with many pubs failing the test purchases.

She called for Challenge 25 to be put in place across the board.

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