Take temporary measures

Q What are the legal implications for holding a temporary event, at which alcohol was sold, without possessing the appropriate Temporary Event Notice?

A Should an event take place without the relevant TEN, the premises owner is liable for prosecution.

TENs were introduced to give permission for relatively small-scale ad hoc events

on premises involving no more than 499 people at a time. According to the Department

for Culture, Media & Sport: "The premises user must, no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start, give duplicate copies of the notice to the relevant licensing authority, together with the fee of £21.

"A copy of the notice must also be given to the relevant chief officer of police no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start."

Anyone aged 18 or over can give a maximum of five TENs per calendar year. Personal licence holders can give a maximum of 50 TENs per

year .

Only the police may intervene to prevent an event covered by a TEN

taking place or agree a modification of the arrangements for such an event, and then only on crime prevention grounds.

Q Can you clarify the rules on who Trading Standards are allowed to use in test purchases? Some of the

kids who have been sent into my shop would have easily passed for 18 or

even 19. Are these children paid for their services or worse, given bonuses for every retailer they manage to

catch out?

A There is a voluntary code of best practice which asks Trading ­Standards not to use volunteers who dress to look older than they are (which includes a ban on make-up). The code suggests an 18-month gap between the age of the volunteer and the legal purchasing age, so for alcohol test purchases the youth should be no older than 16 years and six months.

Volunteers must be accompanied during the test purchase at all times and must not receive payment, except for refreshment.

So who does the work appeal to? ­Swindon Borough Council's website ­targets kids with a social conscience, pointing out that the aim is to "prevent unscrupulous and irresponsible ­traders from illegally selling age-restricted products to young people" and to protect youngsters from "criminal and anti social behaviour" or "educational under-achievement".

It also hints that taking part might lead to interesting career options. "It may also be of interest to those interested in a career in journalism or even budding drama students," the recruitment ad declares.

"Although volunteers will be instructed to tell the truth at all times they do have to act out a situation that they would not normally put themselves in. Could you be part of an undercover operation and stay calm?"