Bar boss hits back after police sting
A BAR boss today blamed human error after police launched an investigation into underage drinking.Rikki Double, who runs Felixstowe's Bar Blue, said his premises were "a young venue, not an under-age venue" and stressed that door staff did check customers' IDs.
A BAR boss today blamed human error after police launched an investigation into underage drinking.
Rikki Double, who runs Felixstowe's Bar Blue, said his premises were "a young venue, not an under-age venue" and stressed that door staff did check customers' IDs.
Two 15-year-olds were served at the Sea Road venue after being sent in by undercover officers. Police said more than a dozen other youngsters were found in the bar.
But Mr Double, who runs similar venues around the country, said he had worked as a troubleshooter with a company dealing with pubs with drug and under-age drinking problems and it "would go totally against the grain" for him to encourage youngsters into his own venues.
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"All our bar staff are made aware of basic licensing law on joining the company and if at any time they are unsure the matter is brought to the attention of a senior member of staff," he said.
"A professional team of licensed door greeters is employed who constantly check for proof of age where applicable.
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"Under the guidance of the government white paper the only forms of ID accepted by us are passports, Prove It cards or photo driving licenses.
"None of our duty staff have any recollection of any person or persons being admitted to the venue or purchasing alcohol under the legal age limits or they would have been stopped on both counts.
"Of course in a busy nightclub human error cannot be ruled out, as two people would only represent one per cent of our customers at that time."
He had spent a lot money doing everything possible to make the venue a safe place and address problems left by previous occupants.
"We are open for business as usual and people will be stopped on the door and if they cannot show ID they will be sent home to bring ID, as the door supervisors have always done," said Mr Double.
"We understand that there is an ongoing investigation into under age drinking and public disorder in Felixstowe and fully support this."
Mr Double said the two teenagers sent into the bar had been accompanied by adults – undercover police officers – and appeared as a group. There were 150 to 200 people in the bar and he disputed that 15 under-age drinkers were found, claiming two were ejected and these later returned with proof that they were 18.
He said door staff thought the two test purchasers certainly looked over 18.
Felixstowe police commander Insp Andy Bushell said a full investigation is taking place to decide if further action should be taken and he could not comment on the case until this was complete.
At seven other premises visited during the operation, door and bar staff challenged the youngsters over their ages and refused to serve them.