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City venues fail underage alcohol test
A PUB and nightclub in Salisbury have been caught selling alcohol to underage teenagers.
The Chapel Nightclub in Milford Street and the Slug and Lettuce in Bridge Street both failed a licensed premises test purchase operation carried out by Wiltshire Police on Friday night.
Two 15-year-old volunteers were allowed into the premises and served alcoholic drinks at the bar.
They were not challenged by door staff or those working behind the bar at either venue, and were not asked for any ID.
Nine city centre premises were visited as part of the operation, which was conducted by police officers, special constables and licensing staff.
In the seven other venues the 15-year-olds were challenged and either refused entry or stopped from buying alcohol.
Police licensing manager David Bennett said: “It is encouraging to see that the majority of venues visited have refused to allow the youngsters to purchase alcohol.
“However, it is of significant concern to see that two 15-year-old girls have entered a late night venue, first passing through security and then being served alcohol at the bar.
“Those venues that failed have already been made aware. We will work with the management of these premises in an effort to improve procedures.”
Police say they will continue to use test purchase operations to clamp down on the sale of alcohol to under 18s. And they plan to visit pubs in rural locations as well as in towns and the city centre.
“We will specifically target those premises where intelligence indicates that youngsters are being served alcohol and where we believe ID challenges are not being made,” said Mr Bennett.
“Underage consumption is alcohol is a serious concern to us. As well as the obvious detrimental health and safety factors caused by youngsters consuming alcohol, there is also a clear link to crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour.”
Chapel licensee Amanda Newbery said she was “disappointed” staff had failed to realise the volunteers were underage.
“At The Chapel, we continually strive for our customers enjoy themselves in a truly safe environment and do our utmost to adhere to a wide range of licensing legislation,” she said.
“We have put an action plan in place to help our staff in our ongoing work to combat underage drinking.”
A spokesman for Slug and Lettuce said the incident was a “one off” and the firm has “stringent procedures in place to prevent the sale of any alcohol to minors”.
She said the contract with the company providing door supervisors has since been terminated and a member of bar staff suspended.