Offences – Alcohol Sales to Under Age Persons
There are a number of offences that can be committed in relation to the sale of alcohol to a person under the age of 18 and the following offences can be committed under the Licensing Act 2003:
It is illegal to sell alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years.
It is illegal to knowingly allow alcohol to be sold to a person under the age of 18 years.
It is illegal for a person under 18 years to buy or attempt to buy alcohol or to consume alcohol in a licensed premises.
It is illegal for a person to buy alcohol on behalf of a person under the age of 18 years.
It is illegal for a person under 18 years to supply alcohol unless supervised by an adult.
It is legal to supply beer, wine or cider to a person aged 16 or 17 years in licensed premises if it is served with a table meal and the person is accompanied by an adult.
Defences – Alcohol Sales to Under Age Persons
It is a defence for the person who sold alcohol to a young person to show that they believed the young person was over 18 and that they had taken steps to verify the persons age or no-one could reasonably have suspected the person was under 18 (ie, asked for acceptable ID)
It is a defence for the shop owner/licence holder (provided they didn’t sell the alcohol themselves) to show that they had exercised all due diligence to avoid selling alcohol to children.
It is also an offence to allow a child under 16 years to be in pubs, clubs or nightclubs unless they are accompanied by an adult and similar defences are available to this offence.