Pubs warned against under-age drinking

PUBS, clubs and bars across the Ipswich area were today warned a new campaign against under-age drinking is being launched in the run-up to Christmas.Police will be using teenagers to test whether bars will serve drinks to those under-18 – and any that do could face prosecution.

PUBS, clubs and bars across the Ipswich area were today warned a new campaign against under-age drinking is being launched in the run-up to Christmas.

Police will be using teenagers to test whether bars will serve drinks to those under-18 - and any that do could face prosecution.

It comes in the wake of yesterday's launch of a new drive to make people aware of link between alcohol and stranger rapes. In the past three years, the victim had been drinking heavily in seven of the ten crimes of this nature committed in the county.

Superintendent Tim Beach said a similar crackdown against under-age drinking in the summer found two premises prepared to sell to under-18s.

"They had a warning and were cautioned after this - but given that this will be the second campaign we have launched and the managers are getting a warning, it is very likely that this time there will be prosecutions," said Supt. Beach.

A prosecution of a publican could give him or her serious problems when they apply for their licence to be renewed.

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But the move has the backing of most bar managers in the town.

Michael Collins, who runs McGinty's and is chairman of Ipswich PubWatch, said he was fully behind the move.

"I'm sure all the responsible publicans in the town will be 100 per cent behind the police in this.

"It is important that the law is enforced and it helps to ensure everything stays in order."

Police also appealed to publicans to encourage responsible drinking over the Christmas and New Year period.

They have issued guidelines to pubs urging them to close between 5pm and 7pm on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve so people are not able to drink solidly all day.

It will also give staff a rest and give them the chance to clear up before the busy evening session.

And pubs will close their doors after 10.30pm - not allowing anyone to go in after that time, although they can continue serving until the early hours.

Mr Collins said: "In five years this policy has worked well in Ipswich, there haven't been many problems at all. I hope it all works well again this year."

Do you think the police should use teenagers to find pubs which sell alcohol to underage drinkers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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