Bottles of alcohol tagged in trial to crack down on underage drinking

14th January 2011 - Fine Cut

Alcohol bottles should be tagged, so adults buying alcohol for under 18s can be traced by police, a Labour MSP has said.

The scheme would see bottles bear printed barcode labels which would enable the authorities to track whether the alcohol was bought legally and then given to youngsters.

Some problem areas of Dundee are already trialling the scheme which involves police seizing any alcohol found on under 18s and then tracing the coded product labels to determine where the drink was bought. Then, using CCTV from the shop officers will identify who bought the drink, establishing whether it was an adult or someone underage who was illegally sold it.

As reported by The Scotsman, Labour's community safety spokesman James Kelly said the scheme should be extended to other parts of the country. He wants the Scottish Government to encourage the licensing board to sign up to the initiative.

The scheme aims to catch retailers selling alcohol to under-age customers, but it will also target "proxy purchases" when adults buy alcohol on behalf of minors. The scheme costs less than £100 per shop to run and supporters believe it will help reduce alcohol related antisocial behaviour in areas where there are problems with underage drinking.

"I urge licensing boards to adopt this new approach to hammer home the message that supplying under-agers with alcohol is never acceptable and will not be tolerated," he said.

A Holyrood spokesman added: "The Scottish Government has always supported and encouraged the police to make use of bottle-tagging in its fight against under-age drinking."

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