Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Co-op reports mother over alcohol

Sue Savage
Ms Savage said she asked Tara to reach to the top shelf for the drinks

A mother is to challenge an £80 fine issued after she asked her 15-year-old daughter to reach for four bottles of alcohol from a high supermarket shelf.

Sue Savage, from Cranbrook, Kent, was stopped by staff at the town's Co-op when she asked her daughter Tara, who is over 6ft, to get the drinks.

Ms Savage, 47, was reported to police, who issued the fixed penalty for supplying alcohol to a minor.

The Co-op said Tara was seen by staff choosing alcoholic products.

Ms Savage said she wanted the drinks, which came to a total of £10, for a party she was giving.

She told the supervisor who challenged her that the drinks were not for Tara.

"She said, 'I'm sorry I don't believe you'," said Ms Savage.

Assuming that someone is going to supply alcohol to children just because they have a child with them is ridiculous
Sue Savage

"They took the four items out of my basket my daughter had reached for and allowed me to buy the rest of the alcohol and the rest of the shopping."

Mother and daughter then left the store and drove away, but Ms Savage changed her mind and returned.

She left Tara in the car and went back into the shop alone to buy the drinks.

"They refused to sell them to me and said, 'We strongly suspect you are buying them for your daughter'.

"They sent the duty manager who said, 'You are breaking the law'."

Ms Savage said she handed the duty manager the right money for the drinks and took them away but she was reported to the police.

'Seen choosing alcohol'

"They issued a fixed penalty notice, with the option of going to court, which I will do, but that has a potential fine of £5,000," she said.

"But assuming that someone is going to supply alcohol to children just because they have a child with them is ridiculous."

A spokeswoman for the Co-operative Group said its staff were trained to be watch out for adults buying alcohol for under 18s.

"On this occasion the customer's daughter, who was known to be under 18, was viewed by staff members choosing alcoholic products from the shelves, therefore, they refused the sale," said a spokeswoman.

Kent Police said the officer dealing with the matter tried to find a sensible solution.

"The shop believed Ms Savage to be buying alcohol on behalf of a minor," said a spokesman.

"If they served her, they could be prosecuted for breaking the law.

"Ms Savage was not arrested or charged with an offence and will not get a criminal record."

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