I finally heard back from Kent Police today, in answer to my 'Freedom of Information' request.
To cut a long story short and having spoken with the managers of local off-licenses, I wanted to know how many people had been prosecuted for the onward sale of alcohol to under 18's.
Unfortunately, I'm told that "To locate this information would involve manually interrogatingmany files and the cost of doing so is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond"( Under the 2004 FOI regulations).
The Police can however tell me that three people in Thanet have been fined for the - over the counter sale - of alcohol to under 18's in the last two years but as they say, they don't have the records concerning onward sales and by implication, this suggests that it doesn't happen in the eyes of the law.
Anecdotally, of course it does happen and represents a significant local problem, yet there have been no prosecutions, ever, it appears. So when we see teenagers strolling around the streets, as I did this evening, clutching their cans of lager, remember, they only exist in the imagination.
This was of course my second attempt to squeeze some meaningful information from Kent Police under the Freedom of Information Act. You may recall that the first request, which involved asking for simply the number of registered sex offenders, living in Thanet, who might constitute a danger to children in the community, came up with: "We are unable to release this information in the event that it might lead to public disorder."
A comforting thought to end with!