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3 October 2019

Central Coast bottle shop mystery shopper sting

A mystery shopper sting at bottle shops on the Central Coast has helped boost checking of ID of customers who look under 18.

Liquor & Gaming NSW and Central Coast Local Health District joined forces for the operation, which saw the rate of ID checks jump to nearly 80%.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Operations Sean Goodchild said the compliance check helped educate and support bottle shops to stay on the right side of the law.

“Mystery shoppers who looked under 18 were sent to buy alcohol from bottle shops on the Central Coast,” Mr Goodchild said.

“Results showed 67% of bottle shops were checking the mystery shoppers’ ID. We used this information to speak to licensees who didn’t check ID and help them with strategies to prevent it happening again.

“To test the success of these visits, mystery shoppers went back to the same bottle shops. This time the percentage checking ID rose to 73%.”

Central Coast Local Health District Health Promotion Officer Hannah Bartman said following this initial success another round of mystery shoppers visited the bottle shops, and the percentage checking ID increased again to nearly 80%.

Following out visits the percentage of bottle shops checking ID increased to 73% (after first visits) and then 79% (after second visits)

“The results and the willingness of Central Coast bottle shops to take them on board and improve their ID checking practices, demonstrate that this approach can help bottle shops stay on the right side of the law, avoid being fined or prosecuted, and protect minors from harm,” Ms Bartman said.

Central Coast Local Health District and Liquor & Gaming NSW plan to run these operations together again in the future, to further increase the checking of ID and to ensure that the improvements bottle shops made in their ID checking practices are maintained.

Mr Goodchild said serving alcohol to minors is one of the most serious offences under the NSW liquor laws due the high risks of harm.

“Venues caught serving minors can face hefty penalties including fines up to $11,000 and liquor licence suspensions or disqualifications,” he said.

“Licensed venues are advised to ask for age ID of any patrons who appear under the age of 25. More information on underage drinking laws is available here.”

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Claire Beaver (02) 9995 0319, 0468 644 841