WAY TOO MANY DRUNKS AND KIDS

By SAMANTHA HEALY

A MAJOR crackdown has left police shocked by the staggering number of liquor laws being broken in Tweed pubs and clubs.

Illegal gambling, drunks being served alcohol, unaccompanied minors, untrained staff and unlicensed security were identified during last weekend's swoop.

Police and licensing officers from the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command conducted the blitz as part of Operation Trident, a statewide operation targeting offences in licensed premises.

Senior Constable Steve Chapman said he was stunned by the offences ? 41 in total.

"We were really surprised by the level of non-compliance in the region," he said. "Some venues clearly breached their duty of care, and that should be taken very seriously.

"A significant amount of police work is alcohol-related offences and the idea of compliance is to drive down alcohol-fuelled crime."

As a result of the crackdown, the South Tweed Tavern, the Murwillumbah Hotel and the Bangalow Hotel will face the Licensing Court in May.

Sen Const Chapman said the most serious offences detected during the blitz were staff members serving intoxicated patrons more alcohol.

"They were seriously intoxicated and should have been refused service," Sen Const Chapman said.

A Chinderah venue was also busted for conducting an illegal raffle without a permit and a Kings- cliff pub was fined because a staff member, acting as security, was not licensed

"He identified himself as security and was checking identification but was not licensed to do so," Sen Const Chapman said.

This latest licensing crack-down backs up claims made by local security guards in the Daily News of the dire state of compliance in Tweed venues.

Last week three Tweed security workers underlined the growing alcohol and drug-fuelled violence problem in the region, how some security guards were unlicensed and the non-existence in some clubs of responsible service of alcohol rules.

Other offences detected during last weekend's blitz included unaccompanied minors in a club, security not displaying a licence and staff supplying liquor without having Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificates as required by law.

As a result of the weekend-long blitz a number of licensees and staff were also issued with fines.

"Police will continue to target licensed premises to ensure the level of alcohol-related crime is reduced and to raise the level of compliance of licensed premises," Sen Const Chapman said.

"Licensees must take their obligations seriously."



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