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Think before they Drink


The purpose of this initiative is to help reduce the very visible problem of underage drinking on our streets. This initiative was piloted in off – licence premises throughout Winlaton, Blaydon, Ryton and Crawcrook neighbourhoods who signed up to and implemented a code of practice on the responsible sale of alcohol. From April 2011 the initiative will be gradually rolled out across the rest of Gateshead.

The aims of the initiative are to:

Reduce the sales of alcohol to under 18’s

  • Raise awareness of the issues of underage drinking
  • Assist off-sales licensees and enforcement bodies in reducing the numbers of proxy sales
  • Reduce the number of incidents of alcohol – related antisocial behaviour

By signing up to the proposed code of conduct, off - licenses would be agreeing to the following key actions and principles that will help ensure the socially responsible sale of alcohol: 

  • Staff will not sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 and will challenge those who appear to be under 21 for an approved form of identification. 
  • Staff will question those over 18 who are purchasing large quantities of alcohol or those who have purchased alcohol on more than one occasion on one given day and refuse the sale if deemed appropriate as a proxy sale

How it affects your community?

  • There is a strong link between alcohol misuse and antisocial behaviour.
  • Youths congregating outside stores can become a flash point for anti social behaviour.
  • Retailers and customers suffer from this problem, with young people causing litter, deterring customers and possibly intimidating staff and customers.

How it affects the individual?

Under age drinking is not just a social issue but also a health issue.   Young people who drink before the legal age (and those who binge drink into adulthood) are more at risk of the following;

  • Damage to vital organs such as the liver, heart, brain, stomach, high blood pressure, and cancer
  • Young people are more vulnerable when drunk
  • Their judgement is affected and they take risks such as drinking in dangerous places (parks, dark alleys), or they may get involved in  fights, anti-social and criminal activity which will escalate if it is alcohol- fuelled
  • Research shows that the sooner young people start drinking the more significant impact it has on their health
  • It can lead to high dependency in adulthood

The legalities and your responsibility

  • It is an offence for someone under 18 to buy alcohol
  • It is an offence for someone to purchase alcohol on behalf of a person under the age of 18 and could result in a £5000 fine for the person purchasing the alcohol
  • It is an offence for any person to sell alcohol to a person under 18

What can you do to help?

  • Show your support and back your retailer (ask them if you can sign up and show your support for the scheme)
  • Don’t be offended if you are asked for ID
  • Don’t be offended if the shop owner refuses to sell you alcohol
  • If you are aware of people buying alcohol for under 18’s please notify the retailer the police and trading standards
  • If you are being pestered to buy alcohol please inform the retailer and the police

Contact us

Safer Communities
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 3000 (during weekday normal office hours only, 8.30am - 5pm)