Blitz on booze law breakers

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Pavement graffiti is being used in North Lanarkshire in a bid to flag up the consequences of buying drink for youngsters.

Dozens of adults have allegedly been snared in a blitz designed to curb ‘proxy purchasing’, reckoned to be a significant ongoing problem across the area.

Until now it has proved difficult to prevent adults obtaining alcohol for under-18s, and the focus has tended to be on licensed outlets not asking for proof of age from youngsters.

Lessons learned from the pilot project will be applied in other areas across Scotland when results from the summer have been assessed.

More than 40 people are already said to have been caught, of which six were licensed premises reported for selling alcohol to “proxy purchasers”.

The summer crackdown is being jointly coordinated between the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership (SGAIP), North Lanarkshire community safety partnership and Police Scotland.

The majority of those caught buying drink for under-18’s were men, while more than half of the under-18s trying to obtain drink were female.

Those caught buying for under-18s face a fine of up to £5,000 or up to three months in prison – or both.

Meanwhile, the pavement messages aim to send a warning to other potential offenders.The graffiti has been created with eco-friendly paint that can be power washed off.

Police are increasing patrols in areas where proxy purchase is known to take place, as the crackdown on alcohol purchases for under 18s continues.

North Lanarkshire Council leader, Councillor Jim McCabe, said: “This is a very visible way of highlighting the campaign message that people trying to buy alcohol for under 18s are being targeted by police. It’s an innovative approach to a common problem, and lets people know we won’t tolerate proxy buying.”