Buying alcohol

There are laws about buying, selling and drinking alcohol in the UK.

Under 18

It's illegal to buy alcohol if you're under 18.

Don't ask older friends to buy alcohol for you. They will actually be breaking the law and committing a criminal offence.

This is called a proxy sale, and they could receive an £80 on the spot fine or face prosecution with a fine up to £5,000.

Over 18

Always carry proof of age and be prepared to show it when buying alcohol. Know your safe drinking limits and stick to them.

Many retail premises have a Challenge 25 policy. This means that if you look younger than 25 you will be asked to show ID. This can seem frustrating, particularly if you are older than 18, but understand that the shop assistant is just doing their job and may face disciplinary action if they do not ask.

Shop assistants can also receive an £80 on the spot fine for selling to someone who is underage, or they may be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £5,000. This means they will have a criminal record.

If someone younger than 18 asks you to buy alcohol for them don't be tempted. This is called a proxy sale and you could get an £80 on the spot fine or face prosecution with a fine up to £5,000

Advice for parents

It is very important that as a parent, you take the time to discuss alcohol with your children.

Children's attitudes to alcohol change as they grow up, particularly when they start secondary school. It's important to talk to them from an early age, giving them the facts so that they have accurate information to make responsible decisions about drinking.

For more advice about talking to your child, read the information provided by Drinkaware.

Report an underage sale

If you think a business or person is selling alcohol to underage customers please report it to us.

Report alcohol related problems in your community

You can report problems like groups of people hanging around drinking or areas where there is lots of alcohol related litter to Community Alcohol Partnership at