Retailers now have access to new guidance designed to help them tackle the proxy purchasing of alcohol, which can land them with a fine and or a license revocation.

Developed by the Retail Alcohol Standards Group (RASG), the guidance is available for free online and includes common scenarios where proxy sales occur, as well as tips to ensure that legitimate sales are not negatively affected.

According to NHS Digital’s 2016 report, Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England, the most common ways children and young people access alcohol is through parents or guardians (70%), being given it by friends (54%) or taking alcohol from the home with permission (41%).

Hardish Purewal, chair of the RASG, said: “For retailers, identifying when an adult is buying alcohol for a child is difficult, but we believe the guidance we have produced will help to support retailers and their staff in identifying, preventing and deterring proxy alcohol purchasing.”

There has been a long-term decline in the number of children purchasing alcohol directly from retailers, with currently only 6% of young people that have drunk alcohol in the last four weeks purchasing alcohol from a shop compared to 12% in 2004.

This is due to retailers enforcing age verification policies like Challenge 25, which are now widely adopted, the RASG said.

Purewal continued: “Retailers have done a great job of ensuring that alcohol is not sold to anyone under the age of 18 but we mustn’t get complacent.

“It is important that retailers, policy makers, families and local communities recognise that the ways that children and young people are accessing alcohol is changing, and we have refocused our efforts to ensure that retailers have comprehensive advice on tackling proxy purchasing.”

To view the guidance click here