Wirral Council wages war on rogue alcohol sales to underage drinkers

Wirral Council's licensing authority chief has called for tougher action against rogue traders who sell alcohol to under-18s following a shock report.

Last week, the council was told that 26 young people had died in Wirral due to alcohol abuse.

Councillor Sue Taylor, chairwoman of the council's licensing committee, said this week: "Alcohol-related problems are a massive issue in many parts of Wirral.

"Not only do residents suffer the effects of anti-social behaviour but young people are also paying a high price - sometimes with their lives.

"I am keen that Wirral makes full use of the powers we will soon have.

"We want more undercover visits to the places we suspect sell alcohol to the under-18s and there must be tougher action against licensed premises."

Councillor Taylor's remarks follow the release of the findings of a special study by the North West Public Health Observatory which showed that 26 young people in Wirral died alcohol-related deaths between 2001 and 2008.

The study ranked Wirral 323rd out of 326 local authority areas for alcohol-specified hospital admissions for the under-18s.

A strategic assessment, produced by Wirral NHS for 2009/10, estimated that in the 16-plus age range there were 57,220 drinkers categorised as "hazardous," 16,500 drinkers were classed as "harmful" and 11,852 were shown as "dependent."

Wirral Council is currently involved in consultations with other authorities to press for the imposition of a minimum price for alcohol.

Councillor Taylor, chairwoman of Wirral Council's licensing committee, insited that parents, as well and the council and police, must play their part in helping to tackle under-age drinking.

She said: "Too often we are seeing alcohol brought from the home."