The Newcastle Alcohol Strategy 2008-2018 sets out how the related partnership agencies are going to deal with the issue of alcohol. These agencies include Northumbria Police, the City Council, Public Health and the voluntary and community sectors.

There are four main areas that the strategy deals with:

  • Stopping alcohol from being a problem in the first place by sending out safe drinking messages and targeting binge-drinkers;
  • Improving services for problem drinkers and their families;
  • Taking strong legal and enforcement action to stop under-age drinking, alcohol-related violence and irresponsible drink promotions in pubs and shops;
  • Working together to co-ordinate services and plans to ensure Newcastle is a healthier and safer city for everyone.

Trading Standards involvement with the strategy in 2018/2019

Projects in 2018/2019

The Trading Standards Service will continue to carry out its operational work under the guidance of the Alcohol Board, set up to deliver the Newcastle Alcohol Strategy: "Safe, Sensible and Social".

1. Training & Education

The Trading Standards service will continue to to deliver an educational/training campaign around all the off-licences in the city. This work will build on the work that the service has conducted in previous years.

The Service has previously provided copies of an Age Restricted Products guidance and a related DVD to all off-licences in the city. Additional copies are available from the Trading Standards service. Download a copy of the age restricted products guidance booklet (pdf 437 kb)

2. Responsible Retailer Award Scheme

The Trading Standards service will also continue with the development of a new response to the issue of the illegal sales of age restricted products from retail premises in the city  -  A Responsible Retailer Award Scheme.

The scheme aims to give recognition to those premises within Newcastle who have committed to trading responsibly and once having done so, continue to do so.

The primary purpose of the scheme is to reduce problems such as underage drinking and smoking by denying young people access to related age restricted products such as alcohol and cigarettes.

The scheme aims to provide information to make retailers across Newcastle, fully aware of their responsibilities in avoiding illegal sales and also support them in upholding the law.

Retailers, who prove themselves diligent in demanding proof of age from their young shoppers, train their staff in the relevant legislation and meet basic criteria, will receive Certificates of Responsibility from the City Council.

Retailers can benefit from a Responsible Retailer Scheme Award in many ways:

1. The scheme provides basic guidance to staff to assist the retailer with the training of his/her staff. This in itself helps to ensure against accidental underage sales and can also help to prove a due diligence defence in a formal investigation following the alleged sale of an age restricted product,

2. The scheme recognises positive behaviour. We fully recognise that retailers who are doing a good job, often in difficult circumstances, deserve to be rewarded,

3. The scheme aims to discourage children from even attempting to purchase age restricted products illegally. In other areas of the country, where similar schemes have been running for several years, a survey of retailers who succeeded in gaining an award showed that the number of requests from consumers under the legal age for sales of age restricted products had declined.

Download an application form and conditions of membership (word doc 123 kb)

Recipients of the Responsible Retailer Award Scheme

The City Council is very pleased to announce that following the successful completion of the audit process conducted by one of our Trading Standards Officers, the six recipients of the Responsible Retailer Award scheme have now been provided with their Certificates.

View a photograph of the first two successful recipients of the Responsible Retailer Award scheme: Debenhams and Mr Q's, receiving their Certificates from Councillor Stephen Lambert the then Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulation (pdf 2.75 mb)

So far the successful businesses that have been awarded their Certificates:

1. Debenhams, 26 Saint Andrews Way, Eldon Square Shopping Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7XD.

2. Mr Q's, 24 Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5DY.

3. Morrisons, 200 Two Ball Lonnen, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 9SZ.

4. Gill's Food & Wine Store, 210-212 Stamfordham Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 3JE.

5. mmm. Glug, 11-13 Grainger Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5QF.

6. Ashburton News, 21 Ashburton Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4XN.

We would now once again encourage the owners of other businesses selling age restricted products in Newcastle to come forward so that they too can benefit from the Responsible Retailer Award scheme.

3. Test Purchasing

To see the results of the actions taken where legal proceedings were instituted against individuals and businesses involved with underage sales of alcohol see the following table:  

Premises Legislation Date of Offence Date of Conviction Outcome: Sales Assistant Outcome: Proprietor/Company
General Dealer. Heaton Licensing Act 2003 26 May 2013 19 November 2013 Fined £85. Costs £191.49 No Further Action
General Dealer. Sandyford Licensing Act 2003 26 May 2013 19 November 2013 Fined £70. Costs £143 Fined £1000. Costs £227
General Dealer. South West Denton Licensing Act 2003 29 August 2013 20 May 2014 Fined £70. Costs £20 Fined £580. Costs £83.49
General Dealer. Fawdon Licensing Act 2003 20 August 2014 10 February 2015 Not applicable Fined £265. Costs £212.25
General Dealer. Sandyford Licensing Act 2003 20 August 2014 24 February 2015 Not applicable Fined £500. Costs £362.50
General Dealer. Fenham Licensing Act 2003 30 July 2014 21 April 2015 Not applicable Fined £73. Costs £140

4. Illegal Alcohol

The Service is fully responsive to the concerns as expressed by HMRC around the market in illegal alcohol. Go to the HMRC Report (pdf 246 kb)  

Press Articles

To see the full effect and impact of convictions secured where age restricted and illegal sales of alcohol take place go to an article in the Chronicle of the 15 August 2014 and the Chronicle of the 26 December 2017.  

View a guidance booklet on age restricted products (pdf 437 kb)

View a full copy of Newcastle's Alcohol Strategy (pdf 1.17 mb)

For more information on Newcastle's Alcohol Strategy go to the Newcastle Wellbeing and Health Partnership Website

This information is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. For further information, please contact the Trading Standards Service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Phone: 0191 2116121

Page last updated: 
16 November 2018
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