Booze sting nets Hastings outlets

By JOLENE WILLIAMS

Owners of three licensed premises in the Hastings area face police action following a crackdown on selling alcohol to underage youth on Saturday night.
Underage volunteers, aged 16 and 17, attempted to buy alcohol from 13 licensed premises in Flaxmere, Hastings and Havelock North as part of the nationwide controlled purchase operation sting.
The three premises where alcohol was sold illegally to the teens were a bottle store, a hotel and a bar. Supermarkets and wholesalers were also targeted in the sting.
Napier Police had a hundred per cent success rate with underage volunteers unable to buy alcohol from all 30 of the targeted premises. Senior Sergeant Dan Foley was pleased with the results. "If we go back a year, it's a really big improvement," he said.
However, Napier Police had to swoop on an out of control party in Latham St where revellers spilled onto the road from as early as mid-evening.
Some infringement notices were issued at the scene later in the evening, Mr Foley said.
Napier Police teams also visited bars on Saturday night, but while some further notices were issued, Mr Foley said in general controls were in place.
The blitz was part of Operation Unite - a joint transtasman police campaign to crack down on alcohol-related harm and offending.
Last weekend's Operation Unite saw additional roadside breath-testing, checking hotels and licensed premises, and controlled purchase operations throughout the country and in Australia.
Seventy licensed premises from the 329 tested nationally faced action after selling alcohol to underage volunteers.
Operation Unite's New Zealand Police spokesperson, acting detective superintendent Ross Grantham, said results from the operation were "very disappointing".


However, the Youth Alcohol Expo at Pettigrew Green Arena last week was singled out by the acting detective superintendent as an example of positive work with young people. Nearly 2000 Year 11 students from Hawke's Bay schools attended the expo, which focused on making sensible and safe choices.
But Mr Grantham said it would take more than a weekend of action to change the way people drink alcohol.
"Shifting away from the drink-to-get-drunk culture needs parents, retailers, community and other interested groups to be actively involved. Sadly, all too often police, health and other agencies are left picking up the pieces of what started as someone's night of fun."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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