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Cracking open a tin of something alcoholic to kick off the bank holiday on the train home is one of life's simple pleasures.
Journey juice is no new phenomenon, yet Diane Abbott MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, recently found herself in hot water when she was snapped indulging in a tinny on a London train. Diane's train bevvy - a can of Marks & Spencer mojito, specifically - was mostly met with praise for its relatability.
But (of course) there were some who took issue with Diane's tipple, pointing out the MP was technically breaking the law given that Transport for London (TfL) introduced an alcohol ban on all public transport in the capital in 2008.
Diane Abbot was snapped drinking a can of M&S mojito on the tube. Shocking behaviour from a socialist...not a glass of champagne in sight! @marksandspencer @Conservatives pic.twitter.com/cMnY9ObTMQ
- WayneDaleyOfficial (@WayneDaleyUK) April 19, 2019
Diane's cheeky mojito, for which she has "sincerely" apologised, may have bled to a brush with the law - but is it always illegal to crack open a tinny in public? And where are we allowed to freely swig away this bank holiday?
For starters, TfL's policy that bans passengers from drinking alcohol or carrying open containers of alcohol on public transport also includes includes buses, trams, tubes and Docklands Light Railway in the Big Smoke.
So while many of the London population are guilty of sipping on a drink as they sit on the bus or tube now and then, it's technically not allowed.
While it's within the police's remit to arrest you if caught drinking on public transport, its not all that likely to happen. Rather, you'll get a warning.
According to the BBC, when the ban was created in 2008, it was decided it would not be enforced with extra policing, instead they hoped the ban would be "self-policed", in the same as the smoking ban. Erm...
However, once you've stepped off TfL-owned transport, it's perfectly legal to drink and buy alcohol on board.
In fact, alcohol is actually sold on some UK trains, but, according to Drink Aware, operators can decide to run 'dry' trains where you cannot consume or carry alcohol on board, for trains going to football matches, for example. In these cases, notices will be put up in advance to warn passengers, but it's good to make sure you check online just in case.
It's also perfectly legal to drink alcohol in the street, as long as you're over 18, unless it's in an area of towns where Public Space Protection Orders (or PSPO) are in place. Drink Aware explain that this is a special decree that allows police to stop people from drinking in a certain area.
If you are under 18, police have the right to confiscate alcohol no matter where you are, in the street on on public transport.
So bear that in mind next time you reach for a cheeky tube beer...
Featured Image Credit: PA
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