Northumbria Police officers and cadets paired up with North Tyneside Council’s trading standards team to carry out test purchases at a range of local off-licenses and shops.
A 16-year-old volunteer, a trained cadet with the force, attempted to buy alcohol from the shops – and was denied service by five premises.
But the underage boy was allowed to leave three stores with booze.
All three stores – one in Cullercoats and two in Whitley Bay – were issued with fixed penalty notices, a fine amounting to £90, and will now risk losing their license to sell alcohol when it is reviewed in the coming months by the council.
Sergeant Steven Preston, of Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Alcohol is a known to fuel anti-social behaviour and this initiative of identifying and restricting underage teenagers’ access to alcohol is just one example of how we’re successfully working with our partners at North Tyneside Council to crack down on youth disorder.”
He added: “We work closely with all of our licensed premises to ensure they offer a safe environment for the public, abide by the law and uphold their licensing conditions.
“However, on this occasion all three premises have clearly fallen short of this requirement by selling alcohol to an underage minor.
"As a result, we were left with no option but to issue them with fixed penalty notices and their licences will now be reviewed.
“We will continue to work with our partners and the communities we serve to ensure all premises operate within the law, and I hope this sends out a strong message to others that we will take firm and robust action against any premises that act unlawfully.”
Cllr Carole Burdis, of North Tyneside Council’s Community Safety and Public Protection, has praised all involved in the joint initiative.
She said: “We will not tolerate the sale of alcohol to young people under 18.
“Not only is it breaking the law, it’s also harmful to young people’s health and there are well-documented links between alcohol consumption in young people and anti-social behaviour.
“This operation is a great example of what can be achieved when the council and police work together to reduce youth disorder and address some of the root causes.
“I hope this serves as a warning to other licensed premises to take their responsibilities seriously or face action.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, added: “Whether it’s on our beaches, in our parks or on our Metro, ASB won’t be tolerated.
“We often see problems rise when the nights get lighter and it certainly won’t help if young people can easily get their hands on alcohol, which can fuel unwanted behaviours.
"It’s only right that our officers, along with the council, take steps to clamp down on the premises that are illegally selling to those underage.
“People really want to see ASB nipped in the bud and I want to reassure them that tackling ASB is very much on our radar and this is just one part of big plans to tackle it.
"There will be more enhanced policing and diversion work to be announced ahead of the summer holidays.”