Under-age online alcohol sale warning

Alcohol Concern Cymru is calling for online supermarket sites to do more to prevent under-age drinkers buying alcohol online.

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Retailers need to 'toughen up'

In March this year, South Wales Police carried out test purchases in Cardiff with 15 year olds to find out whether they could buy alcohol from major supermarket websites.

It found that alcohol could be purchased by agreeing the website terms and conditions and having a debit card and email address.

It also found that in 44 per cent of the test cases, alcohol was given to underage test purchasers without any requests for proof of age.

The process of purchasing alcohol online, for example via supermarket websites, is unique in that the sale is made in private and with relative anonymity, away from traditional retail premises. Young people have told us that these sites offer less robust age verification practices and provide a quick and easy way to get hold of alcohol, especially for younger teenagers who would likely have greater difficulty in buying alcohol in person from in-store at a supermarket or off-licence.

Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity like other household goods we buy. It’s a potentially addictive and harmful substance, especially for the young, and should be sold and distributed as such. Retailers offering home delivery services need to toughen up their processes to ensure that children and young people are prevented from accessing alcohol through this channel.

– Mark Leyshon, Alcohol Cymru

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