BP is challenging a police initiative in Fife designed to catch retailers selling alcohol to underage drinkers.

The forecourt operator is appealing against the suspension of the licence at its forecourt store in Dalgety Bay after it was twice caught selling alcohol to under-18s. It will claim evidence from the teenagers involved was unlawfully gathered.

The sting was part of a test purchasing pilot being undertaken by Fife Constabulary and the Scottish Executive. It was introduced following an amendment to legislation that decriminalised children buying alcohol if authorised by the police to do so.

BP will argue in its appeal that in spite of this amendment it remains illegal in Scotland for an adult to send children to purchase alcohol. It will say that instructions for the scheme actually come from an adult in the guise of the Chief Constable and, as a result, the evidence gathered under the drive is inadmissible. The appeal will be heard in the next few weeks, but it may take several months before a ruling is made - possibly even beyond the expiry in March 2007 of the BP forecourt's licence suspension.

An interim report on the scheme is due to be presented to the Scottish Executive next month and it is likely to be approved for all of Scotland by 2009.