Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bridlington off-licence fingerprints customers

Fingerprint scanner
The scanner does not record customers' names or addresses

An off-licence owner in Bridlington has started using fingerprint technology to deter underage drinkers and smokers.

Rod Parker installed a scanner at his Bossy Boots shop in Queensgate just over a week ago.

The equipment reads a customer's thumb or fingerprint and checks it against ID previously supplied by the customer.

Mr Parker said: "We get a lot of young people coming in and trying to buy cans of lager or cigarettes. The scanner is an excellent solution."

His shop is near a large college and in the first week since the equipment was installed, 70 young people have signed up to use it.

It's better really because I don't have to keep showing my ID
Brett, 18

Customers are asked to provide a driving licence or passport as proof of identity and their details are entered on the scanner.

Their fingerprint is then entered into the system and linked to the proof of identity.

"Once that's done all they need to do each time they come in is put their thumb or fingerprint on to the system and we will then let them have the goods," said Mr Parker.

The scanner is not linked to any network and does not record customers' names or addresses.

Rod Parker
Mr Parker said 70 young people had already signed up to the scheme

Eighteen-year-old Brett, who has joined the scheme, said: "If I forget, I don't need to use my ID any more.

"It's better really because I don't have to keep showing my ID."

However, Alex Deane from human rights organisation Big Brother, urged caution.

"First of all you want people not being malicious in the way they want to use personal information," he said.

"There will always be ways you can misuse personal data.

"You can always change your pin number and your password; your fingerprints are, of course, with you for life."

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