Tackling sale of booze to under 18s

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IRRESPONSIBLE people in north east Fife who try to buy booze for youngsters are to be targeted by police following the launch of a pioneering scheme that allows them to pinpoint where it was sold.

The Bottlewatch initiative, which earned the praise of Scotland’s justice minister during a visit to Cupar earlier this year, came into force this week and Fife Police issued a stiff warning to over-18s who buy alcohol for younger people.

The scheme, which is being run throughout the festive period with the support of a number of local off-sales stores, involves permanently marking bottles of alcohol so that they can be traced back to where they were bought.

DETERRENT

Sgt. Callum Winton of the safer neighbourhoods team explained: “It is expected that this will not only act as a deterrent to any irresponsible licensees who sell alcohol to under 18s, but will also clamp down on proxy sales, targeting those adults who foolishly purchase alcohol on behalf of young people.”

Local community officers will visit off-sales premises regularly to liaise with the licensees and ensure that Bottlewatch is operating effectively.

Along those premises taking part is the Key Store in Ladywynd, Cupar, whose proprietor Fahim Ashiq was visited by justice minister Kenny MacAskill in July.

Ash, as he is known, was praised by the minister for helping to improve the lives of people in their local communities by taking a responsible approach to the sale of alcohol.

In 2008, Ash helped pilot a scheme in Cupar that banned the sale of alcohol to under 25s over a number of weekends.

This week Inspector John Steele of north east Fife area pledged: “We are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour which all too often involves young people under the influence of alcohol.

“This initiative will allow officers to trace and target people involved in proxy sales and the supply of alcohol to young people.”

Anyone with any information or concerns regarding the misuse of alcohol in their area should contact Fife Police on 0845 600 5702.