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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Test purchasing

27.Sections 169A-169H of the Licensing Act 1964 make it an offence for a child under eighteen years to buy or attempt to buy alcohol in licensed premises, and for any person to send a child to purchase alcohol in licensed premises. In practice, this raises serious doubts over the lawfulness of any operation run by the police or local authority officials (i.e. inspectors of weights and measures) to send a child to purchase alcohol in licensed premises to establish if the business is abiding by the prohibition on sales to minors. The Act provides defences to the existing offences for any police officer, inspector of weights and measures or child engaged in such operations. It therefore places “test purchasing” on a statutory footing.

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