Are you aware of the consequences of proxy purchasing?
If you’re the adult being asked to buy alcohol for someone under 18:
Buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 18 is a criminal offence.
Depending on the circumstances, if you’re caught you could be fined up to £5,000.
You could also face a prison sentence of up to three months and a criminal record.
Alcohol-related anti social behaviour and violence affects everyone. It might be someone you know who suffers.
If you’re under 18 and asking an adult to buy alcohol for you:
You’ll lose the money you’ve handed over, and the alcohol purchased on your behalf will be confiscated.
If you are under 16 your parents or guardians will be notified.
If it’s an older brother, sister or mate, you’ve asked, then you’re putting them on the spot – they will be the ones facing a fine and a criminal record.
Alcohol can have a significant impact on your health, and put you in vulnerable or dangerous situations.
If you are working in a shop:
We know it can be hard to spot and stop customers buying for under 18s, but there are a number of steps that you can take.
Watch the video below to learn more about proxy purchasing and what you can do to tackle it
Police Scotland can help. Speak to your Local Community Policing Team. Visit www.scotland.police.uk for advice, resources and information.
Frequently asked questions
Asking an adult to buy alcohol for under 18s is one of the most common tactics used to access alcohol. The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 states that it is an offence for a person to “act as an agent for a child in purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol”. This is also known as proxy purchase.
No matter what an adult’s relationship is with the under 18-year-old it is always an offence to purchase alcohol on their behalf. Remember if you are caught, you may be subject to a £5,000 fine, a three-month prison sentence or both. Don’t risk having a criminal record.
It is also an offence for an adult to supply alcohol to those under 18 in a public space.
If you suspect a proxy purchase is taking place, contact your local police by phoning 101, or tell the manager of the shop in which the alcohol was purchased.
If you’re approached by an under 18 to buy alcohol on their behalf, always say no. Let the shop know, and inform police where and when you were asked.
By raising awareness of the consequences of proxy purchase, we hope to reduce the number of attempted purchases of alcohol for under 18s and reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.
Police officers work closely with the retail trade and the community. They will be on duty and on the lookout for offences, particularly in areas considered to be likely proxy purchase hotspots.
The Resources section is password protected. It contains a range of free campaign materials which you can adapt by adding your local authority logo. Guidelines are included for your designer. Resources include: banners, posters, impact evaluation documents and digital media assets plus ideas and suggestions on the type of paid-for advertising you may wish to consider as well as in kind support.
If you work with or represent a local authority and are interested in taking the next step to access our Resources section, please contact Douglas Meikle by email to request a password. In the email, please detail your name, role, and where you are based.
The development of ‘You’re Asking For It’ was funded by SAIP and the North Lanarkshire roll out was also backed by North Lanarkshire Council. This website and associated resources were developed to support other areas to run their own independent campaigns and make a big impact across Scotland.
Future campaign areas are free to use the resources on this website, but will need to identify funding and maximise partnership opportunities in their local areas.
The Resources section has an example budget sheet which outlines the cost associated with the roll out in North Lanarkshire. But remember that you can scale this campaign in a way that suits your objectives and budget. We encourage you to use the resources available to you, including Police intelligence, to determine proxy purchase hot spot areas. This means that you can focus the campaign on the places that need it most.