> And just to set the record straight, Pete - it's not illegal to drink underage- it's illegal to sell alcohol to somebody underage, since the person underage is deemed to not be responsible for their actions
Errmmm... no, not quite! it's nothing to do with whether or not they are responsible for their actions, it's simply the case that Parliament hasn't made it an offence to drink alcohol whilst being under any specific age, although it is an offence in England & Wales to give alcohol to a child aged under 5. If there was an issue about under-18s not being responsible for their actions, then the following wouldn't have been enacted:
"An individual aged under 18 commits an offence if he knowingly consumes alcohol on relevant premises." [Section 150(1), Licensing Act 2003]
I'm assuming that you aren't referring to Scotland, which has its own legal system... I couldn't be arsed to look up the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976.. oh, alright then...
"A person under 18 shall not in licensed premises buy or attempt to buy alcoholic liquor nor consume alcoholic liquor in a bar." [Section 68(2) Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976]
But in Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is 8 years of age, whereas under English law it's 10. Not particularly relevant, I just like pointing out how much more sensible Scots Law is, whenever I get the chance... :-)