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Teenage drinkers go unchallenged in nearly a third of Scotland’s pubs and clubs

One in three teenage mystery shoppers were served alcohol by pubs and clubs in Scotland last year – without their age being checked.

That’s according to new data released by Serve Legal.

They undertook almost 700 test purchases in 2017, with 32 per cent of sales being unchallenged.

High street retailers achieved an 86 per cent pass rate.

Ed Heaver, Director of Serve Legal, said: “Despite the intentions of the well-established Challenge 21 and 25 schemes and stringent government policy on alcohol in Scotland, our latest data highlights complacency amongst hospitality operators around alcohol age checks. 

“Those that believe that responsible retailing doesn’t matter to the bottom line are misinformed. 

“Failure to invest in staff training and performance around age identification checks could result in a major fine for the business and for staff, temporary or even permanent closure and a custodial sentence if convicted. 

“We urge every business that sells alcohol to take age-check testing seriously if they value their corporate social responsibility, the reputation of their brand and the longevity of their business.”      

“Our Scottish data around on-trade alcohol, knife and tobacco sales makes for some concerning reading this year and should be taken seriously by government policy makers, retailers, hospitality operators and the trade organisations that represent them.  In the current trading climate, what business can afford to take the risk of presuming that its staff are operating to the letter of the law?  Any responsible retailer should view regular, rigorous, independent testing of its behaviour as an insurance policy against breaking the law by handing prohibited goods to children.”  

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