Police action to stop underage drinking is hitting c-stores and off-licences hard.

Last year 40 c-stores and off-licences learnt they were to be hauled before local licensing committees after failing Home Office-led test-purchasing operations.

Tesco stores were also on the list compiled by police forces around England and Wales. The Express in Hurst Street, Birmingham, was hit with a month-long licence suspension last week. Select & Save and Star News in Birmingham received four-week and six-week suspensions, respectively.

Sussex Police have also requested local authorities suspend licences of three Tesco Express and two Somerfield stores and a Bargain Booze, Budgens and Threshers.

"Without fail our volunteers in the Tesco stores were asked if they had a Tesco Clubcard," said Sussex Police crimes reduction officer Jean Irving.

"I wish Tesco had the same emphasis on training to prevent underage sales. But Tesco aren't the only ones selling to under-16s. We will take anyone caught selling to review to stamp out underage drinking."

Tesco said it took underage sales seriously:"We are disappointed these incidents have occurred and will be taking measures including retraining for staff, " said a spokeswoman.