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Pub fined in under-age test

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

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A LISKEARD publican has been fined more than £1,000 for serving alcohol to under-age drinkers.

Lewis Jon Elliot of the Railway Inn, Barn Street, pleaded guilty to serving alcohol to a person under the age of 18 at Bodmin Magistrates' Court on November 28.

The prosecution followed a test purchase operation in March this year during which a 16-year-old volunteer was sold an alcopop.

A representative from Cornwall Council Trading Standards said they hoped the prosecution would serve as a warning to other publicans in the county.

Nigel Strick, fair trading manager at Cornwall Council, said: "We hope that the result of this prosecution will send a clear message to all business in Cornwall – the sale of alcohol to children will not be tolerated."

The purchase operation had been prompted by suggestions that under-age drinking was regularly taking place at the Railway Inn.

The council said the pub had failed a similar test purchase in 2010, after which support and advice was given to the licensee to prevent a recurrence.

Mr Strick said: "Alcohol misuse is causing all sorts of problems in Cornwall. Alcohol-related hospital admissions for the under 18s are higher than the national and regional averages, about a half of all violent crime in Cornwall is linked to alcohol and a quarter of the county's residents regularly drink above recommended safe levels."

"As a result, Cornwall Council's Trading Standards, working with young volunteers and the police will continue to conduct test purchase operations against pubs, clubs and shops suspected of illegal sales of alcohol or other age-restricted goods.

Drinkaware is an alcohol education charity which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of irresponsible drinking.

Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at the organisation, said alcohol can leave children emotionally, physically and sexually vulnerable.

She said it was important that children know the facts about drinking. Research conducted by the charity suggests that young people who start drinking at an early age drink more frequently than those who delay their first drink.

"It's important that children feel confident to say no to alcohol and are armed with the facts," she said. Mr Elliot declined to comment on the ruling.

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