Police sting catches out RSA in Riverton

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 10/12/2012

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Serious licence breaches at the Riverton RSA are being investigated after a police underage alcohol sting on Friday and Saturday, which also caught two pubs and a liquor store selling to a 15-year-old.

Sergeant John Harris, of the alcohol harm reduction unit, said the sting took in 17 premises in Gore, Bluff and Riverton, using a 15-year-old in a controlled purchase operation.

"During the operation a check was made at the Riverton RSA Memorial Club and serious licence breaches detected," he said. "These are under further investigation."

Three places served the 15-year-old alcohol - The Howl at the Moon and Super Liquor in Gore, and the Globe Hotel in Riverton.

"In two cases it was the duty manager who made the sale," Mr Harris said. At two premises no identification was asked for. On the third occasion, the server asked for ID but when told the 15-year-old didn't have it, served them anyway.

Although three premises had failed the test, this was an improvement on previous operations in Southland, he said.

Globe Hotel owner Maurice Forde admitted serving the 15-year-old, but said he made a mistake because he was tired.

He said the Globe had been visited by 10 police officers throughout Friday night which made him tired and under pressure on Saturday.

"I was tired, I was flat out," he said. "I made a small mistake."

Invercargill Acting Senior Sergeant Dave Kennelly said police were running Operation Unite, a trans-Tasman initiative targeting alcohol-related crime, in Western Southland on the weekend. This may have been why officers visited the Globe Hotel on Friday, he said.

Howl at the Moon manager Kathryn Mitchell declined to comment. Super Liquor Gore representatives could not be reached for comment. alex.fensome@stl.co.nz

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