Don't take your work home

On the star letter from OLN Feb 23, the ladies' claim to have tried to reduce the person's drinking despite allowing the taxi company to collect alcohol for him rings a little hollow.

But this aside, I do not think they have done anything wrong. After all, if a person wants a drink they will always find a way to get it. They would go to a competitor or buy fewer bottles more often or from several outlets.

What's the next thing we should worry about? Cigarettes? I have more than one customer who buys 40 a day. Should I worry that they will get cancer? They will smoke no matter who sells to them. It's just the nature of the job that the things we sell are dangerous if abused but we cannot turn to our customer base and tell them we don't think they should drink/smoke so much. We do have guidelines not to serve drunks or under-age people and that's all we can do.

Once the shop shuts of a night leave work behind, ladies.

Tony Rice

Threshers manager

Enforcement is one-sided

I was interested to read the comments of Thresher manager Tony Rice on fighting back against test purchasing.

Mr Rice made some valuable points and I absolutely agree that current under-age sales enforcement is almost entirely one-sided. The figures say it all. In 2005, 385 penalty notices were issued in England and Wales for selling alcohol to persons under 18, where just five were issued to under-18s found buying or attempting to buy alcohol. Recent enforcement campaigns would almost undoubtedly mean that the first figure is now even higher, but experience tells us the second figure is unlikely to have risen much at all.

I would like to reassure Mr Rice that the Wine & Spirit Trade Association is working hard on behalf of its members to try to redress this balance. We are in discussions with the Home Office and, through the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group, we are working with local authorities to explore practical solutions to some of the problems outlined by Mr Rice.

The problem we face is that test purchasing remains the easy option. What will help us in our work with the Home Office and Trading Standards is not only examples of where they've got it wrong, but also where enforcement agencies are getting it right on a local basis. The Home Office cannot tell local police forces what to do, nor can the Trading Standards Institute or LACORS tell local authorities how to act. We need to build the case for working with the industry rather than against it.

Kate Coleman

Public affairs manager


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