Underage drinking crackdown

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Parents who drink alcohol while out for a meal with their children will be watched by restaurant and pub staff as part of a series of new licensing controls for Midlothian.

The new rules call for licensed premises staff to monitor the amount adults drink around youngsters. They also warn that licensees have a duty to protect children from “strong language, violence or disorder”. The local authority’s new licensing policy sets out a series of measures which aim to protect children and young people and crack down on underage drinking.

They include demanding licensed premises watch adults who are drinking, paying special attention to “monitoring the consumption and level of intoxication from alcohol of those in charge of children whilst on the premises”.

The local authority is to introduce conditions for licensed premises to give police at least two weeks notice of any 18th and 21st birthday parties being held.

The new licensing policy highlights Dalkeith, Thornybank, Straiton and Loanhead as areas where there is an overprovision of licensed premises in the county making them less likely to approve additional off-sales or on-sales licences there in the future.

The policy said a recent study by Midlothian Licensing Forum found the rate of alcohol related harm in Dalkeith was twice as high as anywhere else in the county.