Category Archives: Licensing Advice

Children in Licensed Premises

Children in Licensed Premises

The old legal requirement for a Childrens Certificate in pub houses has been replaced by a completely different system under the Licensing Act 2003.  It is now at the publican’s discretion as to whether he permits children in his pub or to ban them entirely.

There are now two main points to note in relation to the admission of children in licensed premises.  Firstly, it is an offence to permit children under the age of 16 who are on their own (not accompanied by an adult) to be present on premises being used mainly or primarily for supply of alcohol.  Secondly, it is an offence to allow children under the age of 16 who are not accompanied by an adult in on-licensed premises between midnight and 5 am.  In both circumstances if the young person is accompanied by an adult they are allowed in the premises.
It is important to check your Premises Licence as your Licence may show special conditions in relation to the admission of children on your premises.  For example, many conditions were carried over from the old Licensing Act (so called embedded conditions) and if these appear on your Premises Licence they must still be complied with.

Consumption of alcohol by young persons

The points above relate to the admission of children in licensed premises.
It is STILL a criminal offence to sell alcohol to any person under 18 on any premises.
In relation to the consumption of alcohol by young people it is still an offence for a young person to consume alcohol on licensed premises.  However, one exception to this is a young person of either 16 or 17 years old is allowed to drink beer, cider or wine with a table meal provide an adult accompanies the young person and pays for the drink.
This exception is not widely known and bar snacks such as crisps or nuts do not count as a “table meal”.  Best practice would means meals eaten with a knife and fork…

Offences relating to the sale of alcohol to children

There are many offences which can be committed relating to the sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol but it is best to remember that alcohol can never be sold or purchased by someone under 18.  Offences include:
·         It is an offence to sell alcohol to someone under 18 (ie, in a shop, pub or bar)
·         It is an offence to knowingly allow the sale of alcohol to someone under the age of 18 (this offence could be committed by a junior member of staff and a supervisor if they are both aware that the young person is under age)
·         It is an offence for someone under 18 to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol or for someone over 18 to purchase alcohol on behalf of the young person (so called acting as an “agent”).
·         It is an offence to send someone under 18 to obtain alcohol that is sold for consumption off the premises (ie, when an adult sends a young person to a shop to collect alcohol purchased over the telephone).

Unsupervised Sales of Alcohol

An offence can be committed when an unsupervised person under the age of 18 sells or supplies alcohol.  However, if a “responsible person” (someone over 18 in a supervisory capacity) specifically approves the sale then no offence is committed.  Examples of this type of sale regularly occur in supermarkets or off-licences where the cashier is under 18 and must get approval from a supervisor before the till will allow the sale to continue.

For further advice and assistance in relation to prosecutions for the sale of alcohol to children please contact Hills Licensing by email,

Licensed Special Events, British Summertime and Trading Hours

Licensed Special Events, British Summertime and Trading Hours
Many Premises Licences issued under the Licensing Act 2003 have special conditions for days such as St Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Bank Holidays.  However, there are many other local annual or biannual events that may not feature on your Licence such as local and national carnival events, charity days etc.
All licensable activities to be carried out on these days (liquor, entertainment, late night refreshment) will require authority either from a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice.
Premises Licence Holders and Designated Premises Supervisors should double check their Licences to ensure that they have the correct hours and licensable activities to operate such events.  For example, a murder mystery event in a hotel will require a Premises Licence which authorises plays as well as music and the sale of alcohol.
British Summertime officially commences on Easter Sunday this year (31st March 2013) and at 1 am on Sunday morning the clocks will go forward by one hour to 1 am.  It is important to note this time change as this could affect your Saturday night into Sunday morning trading period over the Bank Holiday weekend.
If your Premises Licence does not cover the extra hour for British Summertime (which some do) you will need to have made a Temporary Event Notice to cover this period.
To ensure that you do not miss the deadlines for Temporary Event Notices, your Notice must be with the Council and other authorities by 14th March 2013 (remembering the ten WORKING DAYS notice required).  It would also be possible to make a late TEN but remember to take advice from your local Licensing Officer in the first instance.
For further advice and assistance please contact Hills Licensing by email,

Age Restricted Sales

Age restricted sales
It is generally well known that the sale of alcohol cannot be made to anyone under 18.  However, there are many other age restricted products on sale that retailers and their staff need to be aware of.  Examples of these products are:

Solvents (ie, superglue)              18
Petrol                                                    16
National Lottery                            16
Gas lighter refills                           18
Knives/razor blades                     18
DVDs/Videos/computer games   12/15/18

It is simply not good enough for a retailer or staff member to say that they were not aware that the buyer was underage.  If there is any doubt at all about a purchaser’s age ID should always be requested.

The law says that you must take “reasonable steps” to ensure that a purchaser is not under age.  Reasonable steps would include asking for photographic ID such as a valid passport, photocard driving licence or PASS approved proof of age card.

PASS approved proof of age cards are one of the best forms of ID as the holder of the card will have had to complete an application form, provide endorsed photographs and a copy of their full birth certificate.  PASS approved cards are recognised as an industry standard for proof of age. The card is endorsed with the holder’s date of birth, signature and a unique PASS hologram which therefore makes the card difficult to forge.  Examples of these approved cards are CitizenCard, Validate UK and Young Scot.

Trading Standards Officers and/or Police can carry out test purchases and a failure to pass such a test purchase could result in a fine or prosecution through the Courts.  It a retailer falls foul of a failed test purchase the retailer or seller may be able to show that he has taken all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.  Due diligence can involve a number of steps including evidence of suitable training and record keeping within the premises.  It is recommended that all staff are trained to a high standard and Hills Licensing recommends BIIAB approved training courses for all retailers including regular refresher training on a 3-6 month basis.

For further information and advice contact Hills Licensing by email,

Test Purchase – what next?

Test Purchase – what next?

When a test purchase has been failed the Licensing Act 2003 does not require enforcement officers to inform either the Designated Premises Supervisor or the Premises Licence Holder when they detect unlawful sales of alcohol by bar staff or shop workers.  It is for the retailer to ensure that the appropriate person(s) in the organisation are informed about unlawful sales and the results of test purchase operations.

It would be usual, however, for the Store Manager/Bar Manager to be informed first and foremost and then his or her immediate supervisor (Area Manager) who would then in turn inform the Premises Licence Holder of instances where unlawful sales of alcohol have been detected.

Further training of staff to preventing future underage sales as well as rewarding good practice when staff correctly refuse a sale is recommended by Hills Licensing.

The best way to ensure that you are well prepared for test purchasing is to ensure that you and your staff are trained to a good standard.  Hills Licensing recommends the British Institute of Innkeeping course – Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing –  to ensure that all staff are trained in their responsibilities concerning the retail sale of  alcohol.

What is a test purchase?

Trading Standards Officers can send a person under the age restriction in force into premises and attempt to buy the restricted product  – this is known as a “test purchase”.  Common examples are alcohol and cigarettes.

Children used for this purpose are not committing an offence by attempting to buy the product.

Trading Standards Officers can investigate if you sell an age restricted product (such as alcohol) to a “test purchase” volunteer.  Trading Standards rarely investigate offences committed if the purchaser was not a formal “test purchase” volunteer because of evidential requirements.

Officers have to prove that the offence was committed beyond reasonable doubt.

Officers may invite you for an interview (commonly referred to as an “interview under caution”).  You are not required to attend this interview although failure to do so may have legal consequences for you.  If you would like help with this, please contact Hills Licensing.

Trading Standards Officers have no powers of arrest, this is for the Police only.

It is usually an offence to give false information to a Trading Standards Officer or to obstruct them from performing their duties.

Trading Standards Officers often work in partnership with other agencies, particularly the Police.

Police Officers have some specific powers in relation to age restricted sales.

A Police Officer can issue a fixed penalty for an under age sale of some products, particularly alcohol.  this is commenly known as a “Fixed Penalty Notice”.  Currently the penalty is £80.  This is similar to a parking ticket and the seller has 14 days to pay the fine or the fine will increase significantly.

Fixed Penalties may be used for first offences or subsequent offences.

Age restricted sale offences are not considered to be “arrestable” but Police Officers can still arrest offenders particularly where they have no means of verifyin their idenity and the offender is being unco-operative or provides false details.

Please contact us email, if you need any assistance with any of the matters referred to above.