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Survey shows underage drinkers use online shopping loophole

02 July 2013 - 09:12 by Simon Crisp

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A new report has found that many teens who are too young to purchase alcohol are getting around ID checks by using grocery delivery services to procure their drink.

Alcohol Concern Cymru questioned almost a thousand children aged between 14 and 17, with just over a fifth claiming to have purchased drink online.

The Welsh study has caused support groups to call for tighter restrictions on the sale of alcohol via safe shopping online and argue that retailers need to be held accountable for what is sold to whom, according to BBC News.

Significantly, the study did find that just 15 per cent of the teens questioned had actually been successful in buying beer, wine and spirit from an online retailer, with seven per cent of those questioned stating that they had made an attempt to do so, but been unsuccessful.

Report spokesperson, Mark Leyshon, said that some youngsters saw the web as offering them easier access to alcohol prior to their 18th birthdays and argued that retailers should make their e-commerce platforms much more robust and better able to prevent this practice from spreading.

Welsh Retail Consortium director, John Munro, said that there are already a number of checks and balances in place to ensure that the laws on drinking are upheld, with delivery drivers instructed to request some form of identification, if the recipient appears to be under age.

Mr Munro argues that the easiest way to prevent the sale of alcohol to under 18s online is to make all banks reveal whether or not a person is older when carrying out transactions.

This would help to automatically enforce the laws on age restricted products and allow people of all ages to shop online in the most appropriate and safe fashion.