Police crackdown on sale of alcohol to underage teens

A SHOP assistant and a barmaid have been caught selling alcohol to children.

On Thursday, a series of test purchases were carried out at off-licences, pubs and supermarkets in West Sussex as part of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ week of action to raise awareness of the impact of drink on public safety and policing.

During the operation, seven premises were tested using children aged 15 and 16.

Shop staff refused to sell alcohol to the children at Magnet News and The Offie in Crabtree Lane, Lancing, and at the Co-op in Ham Road, Worthing, at The Three Fishes pub in Chapel Road, Worthing, and at Morrisons in Littlehampton.

However, children were sold alcohol at The Red Lion in Shoreham and at HD Food & Wine in Ham Road, Worthing.

In the event of alcohol being sold to children during a test purchase operation, shop staff are dealt with by way of on-the-spot fines or reported for summons for selling or permitting the sale of alcohol to a person under the age of 18.

Management of the premises are also required to meet with the local neighbourhood policing team inspector and licensing officer and will be expected to implement a range of measures aimed at addressing the problem.

In some cases Sussex Police may decide to apply to the local authority to review the premises licence.

The shop assistant at HD Food & Wine was given a £90 fixed penalty notice. The barmaid at The Red Lion is to be interviewed by police.

Jean Irving, the force’s head of licensing and public safety, said: “It is unacceptable for any premises to sell alcohol to children and we will continue to run operations to ensure shops, pubs and clubs are not breaking the law.

“Young people becoming intoxicated not only put them in danger but can also lead to crime and antisocial behaviour which can have a big impact on local communities.

“We take this type of incident very seriously and will take robust action against any licensed premises that puts young people at risk of harm.”

If you know or suspect children are being sold alcohol, please email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.