Issued By
Cumbria County Council




A survey recently carried out by Cumbria Trading Standards found that 22% of off licences visited sold alcopops to teenagers under 18.

The survey, carried out in West Cumbria and the Barrow and Kendal areas, found that 10 of the 46 shops visited sold the alcoholic drinks to the one 16-year-old boy and three 13/14-year-old girls, who were acting under the instructions of the Trading Standards department. In West Cumbria 67% of shops visited sold the drinks to the youngster, in Barrow it was 5%, Kendal 8% and in the Windermere/Ambleside  33%.

County Councillor Jack Richardson, County Council spokesman for community safety, said: “Misuse of alcohol by teenagers is a serious problem in this country. Figures from Health Promotion England show that nationally 1000 children aged 15 and under are admitted to hospital each year with acute alcohol poisoning. Community safety audits show that people are increasingly concerned at nuisance caused by teenagers, often fuelled by drink. This work by Trading Standards is one way in which we can try to tackle this problem and shows that there is a real need for licensees to play their part. If 36 licensees weren’t taken in, the other 10 don’t have much excuse.”

In the build up to the survey, Trading Standards produced a leaflet for businesses setting out the law on selling alcohol to young people under the age of 18. This leaflet was sent or hand delivered to 150 off licences in the areas to be surveyed. All 46 shops involved in the survey had been sent or given a copy of the leaflet.

Phil Ahcroft, head of Cumbria Trading Standards, explained that this was a new area of work for the department. He says: “Government gave us a duty to enforce this legislation in December 2001 and, working together with the police, this has proved to be the right approach.


“This time, all the shops that sold alcohol will be visited and given a warning. We will now be sending or delivering our leaflet to all the off-licences in the county and reminding licensees of their responsibility during our normal inspections. All licensees should take this exercise as a warning. Next time we are likely to prosecute.

Bellow is a picture of some Alcopops:


Notes for Editors:

  1. A copy of the Trading Standards leaflet for licensees and a photograph of the drinks bought are attached.
From December 2001 the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 amended the Licensing Act 1964 making it a duty for Trading Standards departments to enforce the law regulating the sale of alcohol to young people. The maximum fine for selling alcohol to a person under the age of