Drunken teenagers as young as 15 had to be removed from licensed premises in Waringstown by police last week.
Last Tuesday night The Planters was booked for a private party, however, the PSNI put a stop to proceedings after finding a number of the teenagers had gained entry with fake ID.
It’s understood the pre-formal event had been organised by a committee of students at Lurgan College, though the booking was made as an 18th birthday party and not in the name of the school.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police had the sad task of removing a number of underaged children from licensed premises in Waringstown on Tuesday night. Sad because some of these teenagers (as young as 15) were quite clearly drunk.
“We do not want to spoil anyone’s fun but the fact is that it is illegal to consume alcohol when you are under the age of 18 and it is illegal for licensed premises to serve alcohol when you are under eighteen.
“In this instance a number of those attending used fake identification to gain entry - this is an offence and criminal convictions can have long lasting consequences on work, travel and education opportunities.”
Having ended the event at 11pm and ejected the teenagers police said they were then “tied up” and unable to respond to other calls as they waited with the children for parents to pick them up.
Responding to Tuesday night’s incident a spokesperson for The Planters said the licensee co-operated fully with police, even going as far as inviting police to inspect the premises before the event.
The spokesperson said: “We had a booking for an 18th birthday party on October 28. On the day of the event we received a call from the mother of a teenager querying what our door policy was. We replied that it was strictly ‘No ID, No Entry’.
“The PSNI were also invited to inspect the premises before the event which they did. They spoke to doormen about the door policy and were content to let the event run with a strict door policy being enforced. Police advised they could also assist at the door in checking IDs.”
According to The Planters it was the police who later discovered some of the IDs being used were fake and advised that the party be ended early at 11pm.
The Planters spokesperson said: “We at all times enforce a strict door policy in the pub but it is a sad fact that many young people will try to get around this by using fake IDs. As soon as we were made aware of the fake IDs, we co-operated fully with the police to ensure all those under the age of 18 were removed from the premises and picked up by parents.”
Police confirmed they are conducting an investigation into the matter while The Planters say the PSNI have told them they are not in breach of their license. Meanwhile both police and The Planters have reminded parents to speak to their children about the dangers of alcohol.
Lurgan College Principal Trevor Robinson said: “I am shocked and disappointed to learn that any Lurgan College pupil would be involved in behaviour such as this. The function was not in any way organised or endorsed by the school. It would appear the event was simply a private party organised by a group of young people for other young people who may or may not attend the College.
“Lurgan College does hold a very successful school formal, organised by the SU, when the occasion is under the supervision of staff and conforms to the school’s rules and regulations.”