BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Rebecca Jones
"While the under 18s want to drink, stamping out the trade in illegal alcohol may prove difficult"
 real 56k

Eric Appleby, Alcohol Concern
"We need to have a much more mellow attitude towards drinking"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 01:20 GMT
Teenagers 'buying bootlegged beer'
Teenagers drinking
Many teenagers drink illegal alcohol supplies, the survey suggests
Nearly half of British teenagers know where to buy alcohol which has been smuggled illegally into the country, a survey suggests.

The report also indicates that the younger the teenager, the more likely they are to know where to buy bootlegged beer.

The research was carried out on behalf of the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA).

Rob Hayward, BLRA chief executive, said the survey provided, for the first time, a reliable picture of the scale of the bootlegging problem.

Of the 501 15 to17-year-olds questioned, 46% said they knew where to buy beer from an illegal source.

As many as 11% also said they had bought alcohol from bootleggers who had smuggled supplies into Britain without paying taxes.

Young people are very resourceful at getting their hands on drink

Eric Appleby, Alcohol Concern
The research findings also indicate that more than one million pints of beer are now flowing into the UK from France every day, underminding the British beer industry.

Mr Hayward said bootlegging was an organized crime that needed to be tackled.

In 1999, Customs and Excise estimated that bootlegging had cost the Treasury 250m in lost revenue.

The BLRA has suggested that reducing the duty rate on alcohol would cut the demand for bootlegged beer.

'Broader process'

But Eric Appleby, director of the charity Alcohol Concern, said this was a "red herring".

"I think that what this survey shows is that young people are very resourceful at getting their hands on drink," he said.

"The brewers have had a campaign running for a number of years now, an unsuccessful campaign, to try to bring down the rates of duty.

"I'm afraid all they're doing now is hitching that particular campaign to yet another wagon, and one they think will be a popular one.

"The answer to this doesn't lie in reducing duty.

"It does lie in certainly cracking down on bootlegging, but more importantly it lies in a longer-term process, a broader process, of changing the way we all think about alcohol so that kids don't feel this desperate need to get their hands on booze, and don't see it as something which is the proof of their growing up."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

06 Jul 00 | Health
Teenage drinking
14 Aug 00 | Health
Binge drinking 'can damage brain'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories