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Underage Drinking

Underage drinking damages the health of young people, creates problems in our communities and encourages anti-social behaviour.

If you’re under 18, it is against the law:

  • for someone to sell you alcohol
  • to buy or try to buy alcohol
  • for an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for you
  • to drink alcohol in licensed premises (eg a pub or restaurant)

If you’re under 18 and drinking alcohol in public, you can be stopped, fined or arrested.

However if you’re 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, you can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal.

Consequences of breaking the law

If the police suspect someone under 18 has alcohol in a public place they have the power to confiscate it. If young people get caught with alcohol three times they could face a fine or arrest.

Getting a criminal record could affect future job prospects and make it more difficult to travel to countries like the USA.

The police can also confiscate alcohol from someone, no matter what their age, if they believe it has been, or will be drunk by someone under 18 in a public place.

Report it

To report underage drinking or someone supplying alcohol to young people fill in the General contact and enquiry form, call 101 or visit a police station in person.

Useful links

Drinkaware