Retailers will have to bear the burden of enforcing a new government scheme to stop drunken anti-social behaviour or risk losing their alcohol licence.

From this month Drinking Banning Orders (DBO), which prevent individuals from purchasing alcohol in any licensed premises in a designated area, can be imposed by police and local authorities against those who cause disruptive behaviour when drunk. Photos and information regarding those who have a DBO against them will be distributed to retailers either through Pubwatch schemes or leaflets or posters.

According to a Home Office spokesman, licensed premises will be expected not to serve any individual with a DBO. Should they knowingly sell alcohol to someone with an order, they could face a review of their licence.

The Home Office insists that the scheme is not about penalising law-abiding shopworkers, but about cracking down on the people responsible for alcohol-fuelled crime.

Should a banned individual turn up in store, it advises that the retailer ask them to leave and inform the police and the Local Authority Licensing team. If a member of staff is harassed by an individual, they should make it known to the police.

Retailers and off-licence owners can also recommend individuals whom they feel warrant a DBO. "Licensees can approach the relevant local authority with details of the individual, however the authorities will need to gather a wide selection of evidence before a DBO is considered," added the spokesman.

A DBO can last between two months and two years, and breaches can carry fines of up to £2,500.

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