Caught selling booze to minors

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:49 18/12/2013

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A Blenheim bar and a Picton bottle store have been caught serving alcohol to minors.

Scotch Wine Bar, in Blenheim, and the Bottle-O liquor store, in Picton, both sold alcohol to two 17-year-old boys at the weekend.

The sting was part of Operation Unite, a trans-Tasman police programme aimed at challenging crime, violence and anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol.

Twelve bars and off-licence premises were tested in Marlborough.

Senior Sergeant Dan Mattison, of Blenheim, said he was disappointed with the result.

"We openly said we were doing controlled purchase operations this weekend. They knew we were coming."

Police planned on running at least one operation a month targeting the sale of alcohol to minors, he said.

A penalty for Scotch Wine Bar and Bottle-O would be decided early next year.

Police also stopped 1268 vehicles between Picton and Kaikoura as part of the weekend operation.

They handed out 72 tickets for licence breaches, traffic offences and speeding.

One person was caught drink-driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 624 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

More than 10 drivers were warned about a new law that comes into effect next year which will see the limit lowered to 250mcg.

Marlborough area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said police acted early to prevent alcohol-fuelled incidents escalating.

Five drunk people were taken into police custody during the weekend and were held until they were sober. Another seven were arrested for disorderly behaviour, fighting and breaching the liquor ban. They were released with pre-charge warnings.

Nine people under the age of 18 were taken home by police for being drunk.

Operation commander Inspector Jenni Richardson said police would focus on road policing and alcohol-related issues over the summer holiday period.

"We're trying to send a very clear message to people out socialising at this time of year that they need to make some good choices about the amount of alcohol they consume and their transport options," she said.

"Drinking and then driving is not an option and you will get stopped."


OPERATION UNITE

Marlborough Arrests: 12 (one for assault)

Vehicles stopped: 1268

Traffic tickets: 72

Drink driving: 1

Drunk youths taken home: 9 

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- The Marlborough Express

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