Sheriff: Topsham, Richmond businesses sold alcohol to minors

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BATH — Although recent law enforcement checks of Sagadahoc County stores that sell alcohol showed most businesses refused to sell liquor to an underage decoy, one Topsham business and two in Richmond failed the compliance check.

The checks are performed quarterly by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and Bath Police Department, according to a June 3 press release from Melissa Fochesato, director of Access Health, a partnership that coordinates Communities Against Substance Abuse – a local coalition working to prevent underage drinking in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick and Harpswell.

Nineteen stores were checked May 20, with an 84 percent compliance rate.

Because the investigation is not yet complete, Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said Monday that he could not release the names of the businesses that did sell alcohol to the decoy, but he did say in which towns they are located.

“In reviewing the case I’m not sure just where they are in the investigative process, so I want to make sure the store owners are aware and if there will be administrative action,” Merry said in an email.

While he praised the high compliance rate, Merry said in the press release that he hopes to see 100 percent compliance one day.

“Underage drinking prevention efforts are ongoing and it is important that every store that sells alcohol does so in compliance with Maine State Liquor Law,” he said. “Our utmost priority must be to make sure that alcohol is not getting into the hands of young people.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.