Northland stores busted selling alcohol to underage buyers

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Young people not yet old enough to buy alcohol at an off-licence were able to purchase it at four Northland stores during a police operation.
Photo: Pexels

Four stores have been busted selling alcohol to minors in a Northland undercover operation, disappointing police.

Underage teens were sold alcohol at two out of 19 stores approached in and around the Whangārei area, and two out of 20 outlets in and around the Bay of Islands, Police and Te Whatu Ora / Health NZ said.

The operation was run by Ngā Tai Ora / Public Health Northland, with 16-year-old volunteers.

Whangārei alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Tai Patrick said the number of stores caught out was “worrying”.

“These sales of alcohol should not be occurring. The premises involved should have better systems in place regarding not selling alcohol to minors.”

Patrick said businesses applying for a licence had to state they have systems to prevent alcohol being sold to minors.

“This can result in a suspension of their licence to sell alcohol for a number of days.

“As a community, we need to have confidence that licence holders will not sell alcohol to our youth and allow them [to drink] unsupervised, and potentially harmfully.

Acting Sergeant Roger Dephoff said anyone who looked under 25 years should be required to show ID, and sellers should check it carefully – including calculating their age.

“All premises selling or supplying alcohol are aware that we run these types of operations regularly, so should not be surprised that they are being tested.”

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