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New champion in under-age booze purchasing fight

The fight against underage alcohol purchasing has taken another step forward with the appointment of a consultant to work directly with retailers and enforcement agencies across the UK to help enforce the message.

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group has appointed Philip Loring, formerly head of central operations for First Quench Retailing, to develop the work of Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs) in tackling underage alcohol purchase and possession.

There are now nine CAPs in operation around the country, including a new project in Fife supported by police and local NHS.

The projects aim to tackle the problems caused to communities by underage access to alcohol through co-operation between alcohol retailers and local stakeholders, such as Trading Standards, police, local authority licensing teams, schools and health networks.

A toolkit to help local authorities, police and retailers set up CAPs, which is endorsed by the Home Office, was developed off the back of a successful pilot scheme in St.Neots, Cambridgeshire in 2007.

Loring has extensive experience of working in the off-trade, having worked for Augustus Barnett, Victoria Wine and Thresher before heading up the rebranded First Quench Retailing central operations team. As CAP officer he will be based at the WSTA’s offices in London.

He said: “It’s a privilege to be asked to help drive this work forward on behalf of the industry.

“Retailers have done much already to address the issue of underage alcohol purchase and I am confident our development of Community Alcohol Partnerships will continue to have an impact."

Nick Grant, Chairman of the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group, added: “We’re delighted to have Philip on board to build on the success we have achieved and extend the successful CAP model into new areas around the country.

“I am sure Philip’s experience in the retail trade will help other retailers and enforcement agencies understand the benefits of partnership working.”

Alan Lodge, 03.08.2009

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