In the UK, you must be over the age of 18 to buy alcoholic beverages. That’s the same whether you’re in a pub, a club, a bar or your local supermarket. But, these places operate by following ‘Challenge 25’. This means that you’re likely to be asked for ID if you look under the age of 25, even if you look like you’re probably over 18.
- Why Challenge 25?
Some 18 year olds look a lot older. Others look considerably younger. If you take a group of ten different 18 year olds, you’ll find that they don’t all look the same age.
Challenge 25 reduces the risk of making a mistake. If someone looks over 18, they may still have their ID checked. As a result, a 17 year old that passes for someone in their early 20s will be caught out when they try to buy alcohol.
- What happens when someone’s underage?
Fines of up to £20,000 can be charged, for selling alcohol to underage customers. It’s a big risk to take, but not enough of a deterrent for some businesses.
- How are license breaches discovered?
If someone has a license to sell alcohol, then it’s their responsibility to only sell alcohol to customers over 18.
Underage selling happens frequently, when staff members can’t be bothered to check ID or feel embarrassed to ask for proof of age. Sometimes, these breaches also happen when shop employees sell to underage friends and family members.
Often, the best way to discover these license breaches is to go undercover. This might involve sending an underage teen to buy a drink at the bar, then seeing if they get served. It might also involve watching a shop for a while, to spot when a license breach happens.
Contact EJM Investigations by calling 01772 334 700, to ensure that licensed sellers aren’t serving drinks to teens below the legal drinking age.