Are adults rapped for buying booze for children?

Q We all know of the severe penalties if retailers sell drink to children. But how often are adults prosecuted for buying it on behalf of their kids?

A This offence is covered by Section 149 of the Licensing Act 2003 and was recently dealt with in a written question to licensing minister Vernon Coaker submitted by Lib Dem MP Don Foster. The most recent figures available show there were no prosecutions in 2005 and just 21 in 2006, when there were also 133 penalty notices issued under Section 149.

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport stresses that these figures may not be absolutely accurate because of the complex reporting structure for such crimes. But with more than half of under-age drinkers thought to be sourcing their booze from their own

homes, it seems safe to observe the figure is pretty low, especially in comparison with the high-level enforcement action against drinks retailers.