A couple of issues back a retailer commented in this column that Trading Standards had pointed out that a refusals register to prove you don't sell booze to the underaged was pointless because you could just make it all up.

Carmine Grimshaw has a very simple solution: take down the ID details, thereby turning the register into a proper document.

He tells me that he is involved, with a couple of dozen other stores in the Greater Manchester area, in a licensing forum supported by Manchester City Council and operating within the A5 policing area which includes Ancoats, Miles Platting, Collyhurst South, Newton Heath and Claydon. "It's a pilot scheme that we hope to take national, which follows best practice under the new licensing legislation."

To prove due diligence, Carmine says: "We advise all members to keep a refusals register. In it they can record details of what ID was shown - passport, driving licence, Citizen Card with PASS hologram. I always ask if them if it is okay to write down the ID number. If a problem arises it clearly illustrates that the customer did show correct ID and that we have done everything in our power to stop an underage sale taking place." 

Members of the forum receive a regular newsletter and have been offered the opportunity to take training courses at a reduced rate, such as the BII level 1 Responsible Alcohol Retailing.

This forum is obviously a very good idea and I'm sure there will be many other retailers interested
in mounting similar schemes. Long may it multiply.

For more information, log on to www.manchester.gov.uk/news/.