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“Pretend drunks” used in council operation

A north Wales council says it is disappointed by the number of bar staff willing to serve drunk patrons after after a sting involving “pretend drunks”.

Free training has now been offered to bars caught out by the operation

Conwy Council employed a number of professional witnesses to imitate being drunk and visit bars in the county to see if they would be served.

The pretend drunks, reeking of alcohol, with slurred speech told the person serving them they were drunk, apologising for their behaviour.

During two weekends out of 25 premises visited only one refused to serve the “drunks” on every occasion with some of the responses of bar staff described as “disappointing”, according to a report to the council’s licensing and regulation committee.

Among the staff comments were “Don’t worry, everyone will be like that later”, “it’s the norm in here” and “you’re doing well then.”

However comments of staff who refused to serve were described as more reassuring.

They included “you’ve had too many”, “I can’t serve you alcohol but you can have a glass of water” and “Are you all right, you look unwell?”

The report explains that because the professional witnesses were not drunk no offence was committed by serving them.

But the information gathered had shown that while some premises were refusing drunks, many others were not.

The main purpose of the operation was to provide support to licensed premises who faced the difficult challenge of refusing to serve those who had had too much to drink,  which was recognised  as a national problem.

Following the operation free training has been provided to operators and staff.

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