Bars face bans after police sting

Two Marlborough bars will have their liquor licences suspended after being caught during a police sting selling alcohol to underage teenagers.

The Old Bank Tavern in Cleghorn St, Blenheim, and the Jolly Roger Bar & Cafe in Waikawa, both failed a controlled purchase operation on Friday night.

Police response manager Senior Sergeant Naera Parata said it was the first dedicated on-licence sting in Marlborough, although the odd bar had been tested during previous off-licence operations.

Of the 24 on-licence bars tested in Marlborough, only the two bars sold alcohol to underage volunteers.

Neither the 15-year-old boy nor the 16-year-old girl carried any identification during the sting.

Mr Parata said he was pleased with the outcome of the operation.

"It was a very good result for an on-licence operation for the first time," he said. "We do a lot of off-licence controlled purchase operations so they have all had experience with how it works."

All of the high-risk premises that opened late had passed.

"They [underagers] couldn't get through the door, and that's how it should be," Mr Parata said. "Ideally, if you don't have an ID it should be the end of the conversation - no ID, no service."

Police would apply to the Liquor Licensing Authority to suspend the two bar licences on the same week day they had been caught. The suspension date could be up to six months away, Mr Parata said. It was likely both bars would have their licences revoked for 24 hours. The duty managers would probably lose their certificates for up to six weeks.

Sergeant Kris Payne, of Picton, said infringement notices had been issued to two underage boys caught in Oxley's Rock Hotel in Picton.


Police have done 10 controlled purchase operations in Marlborough since 2010.

Five of those were done since June this year.

190 supermarkets, dairies, liquor stores and bars have been visited

10 sales had been made to underage volunteers 

The Marlborough Express