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Pub which sold to kids is told to make changes

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 26, 2014

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BAR workers at a pub where booze was sold to children will receive extra training about alcohol and the law.

Staff at The Coopers Tavern, in Burton’s Cross Street, must also ask for ID from anyone looks under the age of 25, only accept certain types of ID and keep a log of those who fail to provide it.

East Staffordshire Borough Council licensing bosses ordered the pub to put the measures in place after a member of staff sold a bottle of cider to a 16-year-old last year.

But the pub’s landlady Mary Bagley, and licence holder Joules Brewery both hit out about being targeted in the operation.

Steve Nuttall, managing director for Joules Brewery, said the pub was centred around real ales and was unlikely to attract underage drinkers.

He said: “Without wanting to suggest it’s not serious, it’s a bit of a nonsense.

“It’s so rare for anybody to go in there under the age of 40.

“If there’s a pub you would least expect to have underage drinkers then it’s The Coopers Tavern.

“There are issues with underage drinking in the town, but anybody who knows The Coopers would say there are not these problems there.

“That is unless I’m very much mistaken and kids are starting to drink pints of real ale.”

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.

Mrs Bagley, who has run the pub for seven years, told the Mail the pub has never had an issue with underage drinkers.

She said: “I’m totally aghast. It’s unfair because we have never had a problem with underage sales.

“We don’t allow children to drink in the pub.”

A spokesman from the borough council said: “One of the council’s main concerns is the prevention of harm to young people and a failure of the age verification policy is always a serious concern and we have to ensure that premises remain a safe and enjoyable place for the public.”

Sergeant Tracey Carsley, from the area’s police licensing unit, said underage sales have been a problem in Staffordshire, with many pubs failing the test purchases.

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