Saturday, 7 November 2009

Alcohol Laws - Nice Little Earner for the Treasury

I haven't, as yet, written about the proposed changes in how Scotland intends to curb its alcohol culture but if this story is anything to go by then we need to ensure the words 'common sense' are somewhere in the policy.

Sue Savage from Cranbrook, Kent, was shopping in the town's co-op, accompanied by her 6 foot, 15 year old daughter Tara. Ms Savage was purchasing alcohol for a drinks party along with other items. Because her daughter is much taller than her, she asked her to reach to the top shelf and fetch 4 bottles of vodka mixers (whatever they are).

A supervisor approached Ms Savage and told her the shop thought she was supplying alcohol to a minor and when Ms Savage protested she was told, "I'm sorry I don't believe you."

"They took the four items out of my basket my daughter had reached for and allowed me to buy the rest of the alcohol and the rest of the shopping."

Ms Savage and her daughter left the shop but she changed her mind and returned, leaving her daughter in the car. The shop refused to sell the mixers to Ms Savage and said "We strongly suspect you are buying them for your daughter," and the duty manager said she was breaking the law.

Ms Savage said she handed the duty manager the right money for the drinks and took them away but was reported to the police, who appeared at her home sometime later and issued her with a fixed penalty notice.

The staff obviously know Ms Savage and her family because they knew Tara was under 18 but as Ms Savage says ,"Assuming that someone is going to supply alcohol to children just because they have a child with them is ridiculous."

You can watch Ms Savage on the BBC's video here.

Lovely little earner for the treasury when police go around issuing fixed penalty notices because a minor helps reach items on the top shelves of supermarkets. Being what is now commonly referred to these days as vertically challenged myself, I've alway had to ask someone tall to reach for top shelf items, be it a jar of jam or a bottle of wine. Now I'm going to have to ensure the person I ask looks at least 50 - just to be on the safe side.

Hopefully she will decide to go to court to fight her case.

Don't forget, she was able to purchase other alcohol for her party without any problem.


Demetrius said...

There are a number of problems with this kind of thing. Critically, Mrs Savage is found guilty by police officers on the basis of uncorroborated evidence and allegations. Also who can "know" who the alcohol was "for"? Given that this was Kent, had the lady turned up in a JCB and taken the ATM there would have been no chance of any local police involvement or being charged.

Stuart Dickson said...

Not looking good for Thursday I'm afraid: Paddy Power now have Labour at 1/3 (from 8/13 this morning) for Glasgow NE by-election.

Ladbrokes - Labour at 4/9

Sporting Index also have Labour pulling away from the SNP too, during the course of today.

The punterocracy are rarely wrong (Dunfermline & West Fife was an exception).

Goodnight Vienna said...

SR, I just wanted to say thanks for propping up a flagging morale. I'm sorry for Scotland - you're fewer in number than England and you're heading the same way. I know you well enough to know that you won't take my comments as a sleight.

Anonymous said...

This is like a story from East Germany in the days before reunification.

What kind of a place has England become? If they want to go shopping for drink and you have a two year old, should you leave him at home on his own for fear the local shopkeeper/stazi agent may think that you are buying the drink for him?

Dramfineday said...

Jobsworths - I remember watching them on Ester Rantzen's show years ago, Nothing changes - no common sense or savvy.....arrrgh

PS Although you may have picked me to help you with the bottles SR as I look over 50 ...nae luck Im afraid as my genetic hight marker turned it's silly self off at 5 ft 4 inchs. Pass the step stool someone!!

subrosa said...

I've heard Kent have a poor rate of success Demetrius.

I'm angry because, as you say, she was fined on an assumption not evidence.

subrosa said...

Haven't looked for the past couple of days Stuart, but I didn't think the SNP would win from the outset. Their candidate hasn't been any better than the labour one either. It was a completely different story with John Mason, who stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

subrosa said...

GV of course I wouldn't take any comment you made as a sleight.

We all having 'flagging' times, I'm perhaps more guilty than most, but then something spurns me into action and off I go hammering the keyboard again.

subrosa said...

It's only going to get worse tris as far as I can see. Shopkeepers are now a branch of the police.

Of course I can understand why they're careful because of the extortionate fines issued to them if they're found guilty of selling booze to a minor.

But that doesn't allow them to behave in the manner they did.

subrosa said...

Dram, you can never find a step stool in any of the supermarkets I use! It used to be different but now I've to hang about waiting for some kind looking person to pass or do without what I want.

Doing without isn't too much of a hardship usually but that's not the point is it.

Dick Puddlecote said...

This is what happens when you let the screaming hystericals lead the debate, I'm afraid.

Have I ever told you that alcohol consumption has been falling since 2004? Because it has. Not that you'd notice from the shrill fevered rantings emanating from dull-minded parlianmetarians north and south of the border (though those north of it are generally exhibiting a higher degree of lunacy, it must be said).

subrosa said...

I never knew it was dropping Dick, I must read your blog more carefully. :)

Have to agree with you though about the nonsense. Soon I'll get round to writing about it but I'm still fighting my way through the debate they had in the SP this week.

All Seeing Eye said...

Odd one this. I'm unsure about spirits because it's a long time since I've been that young, but certainly with wine then she could have been legally purchasing it for consumption by a 12-year old if drunk at home.

Ironically the inbreds who populate the tills at my local Morrisons all wear "Sorry but I have to ask if you look under 25" badges but all look about mid-teens themselves. It's the European Acne Mountain in there on a Saturday. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

The strangeness of being able to purchase the rest of the booze aside, I wonder what the grounds for the fixed penalty notice was? Should have thrown it on the floor and challenged the policeman to do better. It was probably only one of those plastic pretend policemen on a 10 min break from the coffee shop anyway.

banned said...

" issued her with a fixed penalty notice" for what offence ? as others mention, it is not an offence to supply alcohol to your own minors nor to others within your home.
This overzealousness on the part of shops is because they are required to do the age policing in much the same way as barpersons are in pubs, being personally liable for failure.
There was another case in England where a chap was refused service under the " look less than 25 " thing. He proved he was 24 but still got refused because the tillperson misunderstood the campaign.

subrosa said...

There will be more of this banned because of the large fine premises have to pay if found to be supplying to minors.

subrosa said...

My local Morrisons has more people people on the checkout banned, or perhaps it's just wishful thinking from me.

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