Test purchasing nets 227 Scottish scalps

08 February, 2009

Scotland’s year-long test purchasing blitz resulted in 227 out of more than 1,600 pubs and off-licences being caught selling alcohol to children.

Scotland on Sunday reports that the vast majority of retailers had cleaned up their acts by the time they were revisited by test purchasers. But 22 broke the law for a second time and have been reported to the procurator fiscal. Some have already had their licences suspended.

It was the first national programme of test purchasing in Scotland, launching in December 2007 after a trial in Fife, and the results have led to calls for more action to be taken against rogue retailers. The SNP-led government has already said it wants to raise the legal purchasing age for alcohol in the off-trade from 18 to 21.

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken described the results as “appalling”, adding: “The number of prosecutions is in no way commensurate with the actual problem.”

But Labour counterpart Richard Baker said: “The fact that a much smaller number fail at the second attempt shows that test purchasing does work. We want to see this programme rolled out even further.”

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