Published on June 17th, 2011 | by Dean Carr
City gay bar Pink sold alcohol to underage girls
A CITY centre gay and drag venue has been caught selling alcohol to underage customers.
Pink lounge bar and night club, in Piccadilly, Hanley, will now have its licence reviewed.
Police discovered problems at the venue following a test purchase operation earlier this year.
A 16 and 17-year-old were both served alcopops and now police are recommending changes are brought into to prevent a reoccurrence.
Officers say they have called for the review to protect young people and prevent crime.
The case will be considered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s licensing committee later this month.
They have the power to modify conditions of the licence, either permanently or temporarily for a period of up to three months. They can also remove the premises supervisor, suspend the licence for three months or remove it completely.
The current licence allows Pink to sell alcohol from 11am to 3am from Sunday to Thursday and from 11am to 4am on Friday and Saturday.
The police test purchase operation was carried out in February and the two volunteers were served WKDs.
They were chosen because they had a typical appearance for their age and do not look over 18. On that night 18 venues were tested and 15 refused to serve the youngsters.
Special constable Debra Hall, who was wearing plain clothes during the operation, said: “At 9pm the two female underage volunteers entered Pink and walked straight to the bar. I got up from my seat and stood beside them, one asked the barman for two bottles of blue WKD.
“The barman got the drinks and gave them the change. Not once did he ask for identification.”
A criminal investigation was launched and officers discovered the barman had previously been trained to challenge customers who look under 21 for identification.
In his interview he said he had worked at the venue for more than three years and staff training was minimal, which led officers to call into question the management of Pink. The barman was also fined.
The council’s committee will meet on Monday, June 27.
Members will be asked to alter the licence conditions to check anyone who looks younger than 25 for ID, replacing the old challenge 21 rules.
Training must also be refreshed every month and door staff should use ultraviolet lights to check all forms of ID are valid.
A trading standards spokesman said: “At the time we entered there was no security cover and there were approximately six other customers in the premises.
“I saw the barman give the girls two bottles of WKD.”
The city centre gay bar, which opened in 2006, had its licence extended in 2007 to allow it to open until 4am.
Source : This is Staffordshire