The Home Office is heaping pressure on supermarkets over selling alcohol to under-18s with a new crackdown on underage and antisocial drinking.
Details of the campaign will be revealed at its launch next week, but it is believed that the government and police
forces will be pouring money into Trading Standards departments to increase the number of test purchasing operations across England and Wales. The campaign comes as the chief executives of the six main multiples are due to report back to home secretary Charles Clarke about their proposals to resolve underage sales.
Sussex Police said early results from its no-nonsense Enough is Enough campaign, aimed at punishing retailers and pub operators selling to minors, had shown that multiples were in danger of losing licences. Campaign co-ordinator Superintendent Steve Voice said that police were determined to revoke licences when the new licensing laws come into force on November 24. “There are certain premises that are on the edge of licence restrictions,” said Voice.
He said supermarkets were now responding well to the campaign and said that Tesco checkout operators had started to wear badges to discourage would-be underage drinkers.
In the past three weeks, Sussex Police has detected 54 offences through store visits and questioning 652 underage drinkers found with alcohol.
Another campaign targeted at shop staff has been launched by Sussex Police in Brighton to highlight the fact that police will hit them with an £80 on-the-spot fine if they are caught selling alcohol to under-18s.
>>p72 Pressure to buy for underage
Fiona McLelland