Blenheim bars fail police sting

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 14:09 09/04/2014

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A bar owned by Marlborough deputy mayor Terry Sloan was one of four in Blenheim caught selling alcohol to underage teenagers in a police sting.

Biddy Kates Irish Bar on Market St, owned by Sloan, along with Fairweathers Bar, and Paddy Barrys on Scott St, and Scotch Wine Bar on Maxwell Rd, failed a controlled purchase operation on Thursday last week.

A police spokeswoman said seven bars in Blenheim were visited by a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl during the operation.

It was the second time Scotch Wine Bar had served alcohol to a minor in a police sting after being caught in December selling alcohol to two 17-year-old boys.

Police were disappointed more than half the bars visited served alcohol to an underage person, the spokeswoman said.

Police would apply to the Liquor Licensing Authority to suspend the bar licences on the same week day they had been caught. It was likely the four bars would have their licences revoked for 24 hours. The duty managers would most likely lose their certificates for up to six weeks.

Sloan yesterday refused to comment on the sting.

Paddy Barry's co-owner Liz McElhinney said she was devastated about failing the sting as she tried to be a responsible publican.

"In the nine years we've been here, this is the first time we've had it happen," she said. "It gives you a wake-up call, we'll be giving our staff extra training to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Fairweathers Bar owner Warren Croft said he was also disappointed one of his staff had sold alcohol to a minor. The staff member was the most inexperienced of the three duty staff working that night, Croft said. "We're taking measures to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The penalty of closing the bar for 24 hours on the same day it was caught selling to an underage person would be expensive, he said. "That one action has cost a lot," he said. "We're really upset about it to be honest."

Scotch Wine Bar owner Hamish Thomas could not be reached for comment.

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- The Marlborough Express

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