Letter of the Law

I was in a pub last night, enjoying some of Thwaites excellent Triple C, when a notice caught my eye. Displayed very prominently at the bar was a sign detailing two offences under the 2003 Licensing Act. One informed you that it was illegal for you to purchase alcohol for someone who was under 18. But it was the second one that really caught my attention.

The second warning stated that it was an offence for anyone under 18 to purchase or attempt (my emphasis) to purchase alcohol. Attempt to purchase? The pub operates an “Age 21” policy, but even so, any would be under-age purchaser would most likely simply be turned away. How many are people are fined for committing this offence annually?
Indeed, I’ve never heard of any child being convicted of this offence, so the total numbers must be very small. Of course, the real purpose of the notice is to act as a deterrent to under-age purchasers. In which case, it might be wise not to reveal its likely impotency.

For the Metrolink tram signs that proudly boast “X number of people were caught without a ticket last year” tend to be counter productive. Instead of putting possible fare dodgers off, it usually engenders the response “If that’s how many are caught, imagine how many are getting away with it. It must be easy!”


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