Police tried seven times to set up Trentham Racecourse, got them in the end

Is it just me that is uneasy with a Police sting that tries seven times to get the result they wanted?

The kegs will be dry and the wine glasses empty at Trentham Racecourse for the first time next month after it failed a police booze sting on Wellington Cup Day.

But drunk punters horsing were not to blame for Wellington Racing Club breaching its liquor licence on January 23.

Rather, it was an underage buyer with no ID being served alcohol on the seventh attempt of a police sting, after six previous efforts to illegally purchase alcohol had failed.

The breach comes amid a backdrop of Police getting tough on race day events.

That is outrageous.

At the 7th attempt? Really? Why do I feel like the Police weren’t taking ‘no’ for an answer.

That is entrapment pure and simple.

So the Police, not content with being arseholes on the road and pissing off motorists nabbing people going 1km/h over the speed limit are now setting up racecourses to stop punters having a drink.

And their rationale?

A Wellington police spokeswoman said any failure of a controlled purchase operation was “disappointing” as alcohol laws were designed with public safety in mind.

The person used in the Trentham sting was “obviously underage” and had no identification. Given they were turned away earlier in the day, this must have been apparent to the venue’s staff, the spokeswoman said.

“Alcohol and young people can be a dangerous mix.”

How many young people choose a racecourse to go for an underage illicit drink? Not many, if any is the answer I bet.

Aren’t there real criminals to go catch?

Their minister needs to have a come to Jesus meeting with the Commissioner…how many other “stings” are running out there to “get” people?


– Fairfax



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  • Wayne Hodge

    In my view, based on conversations with friends who run bars, the police in Wellington region seem to have a fixation with making life as difficult as possible for bars and customers. They appear to be on a crusade to stop people having any enjoyment and seem to want to impose as many restrictions as possible.

    • shykiwibloke

      Agreed. Police have strayed from enforcing the law to deciding moral std for a community. Just a very small taste of what life would be like with religious or moral enforcement officers of the Sharia ilk.

      • Keyser Soze

        On the surface this seems a bit OTT but if you think about it there would be several bars scattered around a venue like that as well as changes of staff throughout the day. In that light it makes sense that any controlled buy should take place numerous times to ensure a one off rejection wasn’t a fluke. Unless of course you argue the Police shouldn’t enforce the Sale of Liquor Act and should pick and choose what laws to worry about.

  • Jp

    What I would do now if anyone attempts to buy alcohol and doesn’t have ID at events like these would be to call security and trespass the individuals.
    Then they wont be able to have another crack at buying underage

    • SlightlyStrange

      That’s actually a stupendously sensible idea. Regardless of its a sting or just a general teenager trying it on, you don’t want those sorts of people in your licenced venue.

  • nudgy

    The police obsession with the supply of liquor to minors has clearly put the wind up the supermarkets. My daughter who is 28 was shopping at Countdown in the Britomart area on Saturday and purchased a bottle of wine with her groceries. She was asked for ID and produced her NZ drivers licence. Her friend who was with her was also asked for ID and the only evidence he had to prove his age of 25 was a UK drivers licence. The Countdown staff member refused to accept the UK drivers licence as proof of the non-purchaser’s ID and refused to sell my daughter the bottle of wine.

    • SnapperW

      The supermarkets are being misled by (deliberately?) erroneous advice given to them by the Alcohol Advisory Council. Poor staff training doesn’t help either. I’m in my early 50s and this has happened to me a couple of times when shopping with my teenage son. Calling in a supervisor soon got the alcohol swiped through.

      • Brian Smaller

        That is kind of silly that they even went that far. As far as pubs go under current law you can take your under 18 child into a ‘family lounge bar’ or other ‘supervised area’ where meals are served’ and buy them a drink.

        • The Fat Man

          Yes it a bit like how prostitution was policed go after the provider not the customer.

          • Quinton Hogg

            I am just pleased i am over 50!
            When we go the pub for an after football beer on a Monday nite the kids, sons of team members, don’t buy the drinks. I do so the issue doesn’t arise.

    • Larry

      3 strikes and you lose your licence for several years and these don t have to be “real” offences just the set up police stings. As far as I know, no supermarket has ever been prosecuted for selling to a minor other than as the result of sting. They conduct these “tests” 2 or 3 times a year. Public health also conduct them.

  • The Fat Man

    1. If at first you do not succeed try try again.

    2. Did not think my opinion of the Police could drop any lower.

  • biscuit barrel

    The Police minister if she wants a meeting with the Police Commissioner over any operational details, she will be politely shown the door. As she would say herself, its not her job to do so.
    Interestingly the only tow ministries where operational directions can be issued are for Corrections and SIS

    • biscuit barrel

      The budget just released shows the money for Criminal investigations has dropped as a % of GDP over the last 8 years while ‘Crime prevention services’ like these had a boost in 2011 and has flat-lined since.

      Can the police be blamed if the work they do follows the money the politicians give them to do it.

  • The Fat Man

    The problem is the alcohol policy itself.

    It has created the drinking culture we have and is a failed policy, the answer seems to be more of the same. Whats the definition of insanity.

    Prohibition in all its forms has and never will work.

    I will say it again for the slow people in Government, Council and Police.

    You have created this inter generational problem with stupid policies and enforcement.

    • old school

      How is the alcohol policy to blame here?. People need to accept personal responsibility and not blame the policy or the government or the culture.

      • The Fat Man

        Because when you tell people they cant do something they want to do it .
        What liquor licensing (prohibition) does is restrict what people can do.They will always find ways around it.

        My Daughters and their friends all went out on their 18th birthdays to get drunk and party because they were now allowed to. The system encourages binge drinking some get over it but a percentage don’t and it becomes the norm for them.

        And yes people do need to accept personal responsibility but prohibition encourages the exact opposite of what it is trying to achieve.

  • peterwn

    Caterer did indeed blunder here. Caterer should have had the kid trespassed off the course first time the kid tried to buy alcohol.

  • Melissa

    I suppose Winston will not be going to the race meetings there then.

  • Whitey

    Definitely entrapment, in fact I would call it persecution and I want to know whether they do the same thing to other businesses or if they specifically targeted this particular business.

  • Somnambulist

    So, when a group of trainee terrorists are running around the North Island learning how to become insurgents, the police aren’t allowed to use the video evidence of it because it wasn’t obtained in a proper way.

    And when the police get a warrant to search Hager’s technology for evidence that he conspired with data thieves and cyber terrorists, they have to ignore what they find because a judge apparently wasn’t on the ball enough to know that Hager calls himself a journalist.

    Yet police are allowed to have repeated attempts at stings against alcohol vendors until they finally hit the target.

    No wonder general confidence in the judiciary and law enforcers is falling through the floor.

  • SlightlyStrange

    The latest article indicates that they hit 7 of 30 operating bars on the day, which puts a slightly different slant on things I think.

  • waldopepper

    this is part of the concerted effort to get rid of booze by stealth. make it so hard for people to operate that they simply shut down. like another poster said below – are there no real crimes to be investigated?

  • Rick H

    I’m sorry sir, we can’t send an officer to your home to catch your burgler. Some of them are at the races today; the rest are ticketing drivers doing 3k over the limit.