Stricter measures to curb underage drinking in Wrexham
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Recent reports of underage drinking in Wrexham town centre have prompted more stringent measures to combat the issue.
The use of fake or borrowed ID cards by under 18s attempting to purchase alcohol is one specific area of concern.
Existing schemes to crackdown on underage drinking, such as Challenge 21 and 25, have made it more difficult for people to access the town’s licensed premises.
Now security/bar staff at pubs and clubs will ask for anyone who appears younger than 18 to show two forms of ID prior to entry/serving.
Addressing underage drinking in Wrexham remains a priority within the ‘Safer Streets’ project - a collaborative scheme led by North Wales Police and Wrexham County Borough Council in a bid to improve public safety.
Inspector Claire McGrady, force lead for ‘Safer Streets’, said: “Wrexham doesn’t have a disproportionate problem with underage drinking.
“Like most other UK towns – there are underage teenagers looking to get themselves into pubs and clubs at the weekend.
“Some are using ID borrowed from an older friend, others have purchased counterfeit ID cards from elsewhere.
“Over the last weekend we were made aware of a 17-year-old girl in the town centre, who was found alone and heavily intoxicated.
“Clearly this put her in a vulnerable position prior to her being found and assisted by officers.
“As part of our collaborative work within the Safer Streets Staff scheme, staff at licensed premises have fed back lots of information and are keen to enforce more robust screening.
“I would also urge all parents to take a keener interest in what their child is doing at weekends and who they are associating with during the evenings.
“I’m sure many would be alarmed if their own son or daughter was endangering themselves by drinking underage.”
It is a criminal offence to use false or borrowed ID to gain entry to licensed premises or to buy alcohol.
The penalties for doing so can lead to a maximum punishment of £5,000 and 10 years imprisonment.
North Wales Police Licensing Officer, Charlotte Carr said: “Not only have local premises been made aware of the issues surrounding fake identification but local security firms who cover the doors of licenced premises have also been notified.
“We will continue to support the local premises with this ongoing issue and young people utilising fake identification be dealt with accordingly.”
Beyond the strict legal implications, young people using fake IDs could also impact their future career prospects.
Wrexham Council Enforcement Officer for Health, Andrea Mach explained: “Young people using ID belonging to someone else or counterfeit ID with the purpose of accessing licensed premises run the risk of being refused an application for a passport when they apply legitimately.
“The ID that is taken from them on a night out is then passed back to the relevant agencies and records are kept of individuals that are using documents fraudulently.
“Being prosecuted for fraud, which could result in a criminal conviction, will also affect career prospects and the ability to enter some countries outside of the UK. The consequences are real.”