There must be room to manoeuvre in these cases

BAE Systems engineers

NEWS COMMENT: Losing these highly-skilled workers is a major concern

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It is highly unlikely that Linda Savin would have been refused alcohol if she had gone shopping on her own.

Without being rude to the 59-year-old, it’s right to point out that she was not likely to fall foul of the Challenge 25 initiative, currently followed by Asda and many other retailers.

But she was unable to go shopping on her own because she is disabled and requires assistance – and ultimately, that’s what has led to this confusion.

Mrs Savin’s companions – her sons Jamie and Jason, plus Jason’s girlfriend, Charlotte – are all over the age of 18 but did not have any proof of age identification on them.

Despite the fact that Mrs Savin was buying the alcohol, not them, the sale was refused.

We can understand why that left her upset and humiliated.

There was a presumption there, even if that’s not what was intended, that she was attempting to buy alcohol illegally for people who were under age. Her intention to do something nice for her sons by buying them some lager for their wedding was thwarted.

We do have some sympathy for the store and the member of staff involved in this case.

They were only doing their job by following the training they had been given. Selling alcohol to underage youngsters is a problem and shops have a responsibility to do all they can to prevent that from happening.

The penalties for retailers found to be selling alcohol to those not old enough to buy it – or to those who intend to give it to someone below the legal age – are harsh. Rightly so, of course.

But where does common sense come in? And where do we draw the line?

We’re not surprised that Mrs Savin found the actions of Asda a little over zealous.

The bottom line is that if her sons hadn’t needed to push her wheelchair, she wouldn’t have been stopped.

We question whether this member of staff should have referred the situation to a manager or supervisor. There must have been a way around this – and we urge them to consider that in the future.