Off licences investigated
Dated: 17 Aug 2012[View Full Size]
Underage children were sold alcohol by two South Tyneside off licences during a test purchase operation.
Ten premises across the Borough were visited as part of the joint operation carried out by South Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards Service and Northumbria Police.
Officers were checking for both underage sales and proxy sales – where an adult buys alcohol on behalf of a child.
In two of the premises – one in Boldon and one in South Shields town centre – teenagers aged 14 and 16 – were able to purchase alcohol without being challenged or asked for identification.
Both cases are now being investigated. The operation ties in with Northumbria Police’s campaign ‘Put Yourselves in their Shoes’, which aims to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “This operation is an excellent example of how we and our partners take a proactive approach to tackling underage drinking.
"We know there is a link between alcohol and disorder and crime. One of the ways we are working to reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour on our streets is by preventing alcohol getting into the hands of young people, particularly over the school holiday period.
"We have committed a lot of resources to working with retailers to ensure they comply with the law. While the vast majority of them are responsible, it is disappointing when some stores continue to break the law."
The ‘Put Yourselves in their Shoes’ campaign focuses on the message that anti-social behaviour in any form will not be tolerated.
Acting Chief Inspector Ian King, from South Tyneside Area Command, said: "It is well documented that children who drink alcohol are more likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour which causes concerns for the wider community.
"We aim to stop any sort of behaviour like this before it starts by working with our partners on such operations. Anyone found selling alcohol to children can expect to receive a fine and will be reminded about their responsibility to always ask for proof of age for younger looking customers.
"We will continue to work with our partners at South Tyneside Council to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour and urge people to think about how their actions can affect others as part of the Northumbria Police campaign 'Put yourself in their shoes'."
Anyone who wishes to report underage sales can do so by calling the confidential hotline on 0800 093 5878 or reporting it online at www.reportitonline.co.uk. Alternatively text the word UNDERAGE and details to 07786 200 802.
The Trading Standards Service has developed a scheme to engage with retailers of age restricted products. Anyone interested in joining the scheme can call 0191424 7887.
Cllr Tracey Dixon pictured with A/Chief Insp Ian King and Lynn Eagelton, from Eagleton's store, on Carden Avenue, South Shields