Sunderland shops hit in undercover checks in crackdown on underage sales

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TIME is being called on underage drinkers in a police operation targeted at off-licences which sell to those too young to be boozing.

At the weekend, officers from Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team carried out a test purchasing operation with Trading Standards.

Any premises where staff are continually selling to under 18s will have the conditions of its licence reviewed and could ultimately end up being closed down.

Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty

The operation saw a 15-year-old attempt to buy alcohol from off-licences in Southwick.

Eight premises were visited with one store selling alcohol to the test purchaser - the person who sold the alcohol to the 15-year-old received a £90 fine.

Officers will continue to carry out the operation in the coming months to help stop antisocial behaviour caused by underage drinking.

Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “We know there is a direct link between underage drinking and youth related antisocial behaviour, not only this young people are making themselves more vulnerable by getting drunk.

“We’re working with our partners to tackle this issue and stopping underage youths from getting their hands on alcohol in the first place is one of the steps we are taking.

“We regularly carry out test purchasing operations to ensure off-licences are abiding by the terms of their licence and staff are not selling alcohol to those underage.

“I’d like to remind staff who work in off-licences that if they are caught selling alcohol to someone underage they personally will be fined and will have to pay the fine out of their own pocket.

“Any premises where staff are continually selling to under 18s will have the conditions of its licence reviewed and could ultimately end up being closed down.

“We will continue these operations across the summer months and will continue to work with the local authority and youth provision services to ensure there are activities for young people to get involved in and enjoy.”

To find out more about what is being done in your area contact your local neighbourhood policing team on 101 ext 69191 or visit the Northumbria Police website www.northumbria.police.uk