Three premises in Alnwick and Amble were caught selling alcohol to youngsters aged 15 and under in a joint operation by police and trading standards.
Northumbria Police and Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards are clamping down on local premises found to be selling alcohol to underage people during the festive season.
On Saturday, officers from the Alnwick Neighbourhood Policing Team were joined by trading standards and licensing officers to carry out test-purchase operations as part of a joint action plan designed to addressed concerns received from the local community about underage drinking and alcohol-related disorder in the area.
Out of seven premises targeted in the towns of Alnwick and Amble, three were caught selling alcohol to test purchasers who were 15 and under.
The staff at the establishments have been issued with fixed penalty tickets and will be invited for a meeting with licensing to review their licence and discuss the implications of the breaches.
The joint operation supports the local After8 operation and the force-wide Operation Tinsel, both of which aim to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder and educate local schools and members of the community on the dangers associated with alcohol consumption.
Alnwick Acting Neighbourhood Inspector, Sharon Wilmore-Greaves, said: “We are significantly concerned about the vulnerable situations that young people can find themselves in as a result of alcohol consumption and the associated disorder reported to us by members of the local community.
“This partnership operation with the council is just one of a number of initiatives and tactics being used to both educate and prevent this from happening in the towns of Alnwick and Amble. Together with licensing we will be making follow-up visits to these premises, and others in the area, to make sure they are aware of the requirements of their licence and ensure they are committed to sticking to them.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, added: “This activity demonstrates that our officers in Alnwick are listening to the public’s concerns and are determined to do something about it.
“Through this excellent partnership work, we can see that action is being taken against those responsible for illegally selling alcohol to those underage. This proactive work aims to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people as a result of alcohol consumption and hopefully reduce alcohol-related crime within the area. I will ensure this activity continues as part of my ongoing commitment to tackle this issue head on.”
Coun Liz Simpson, deputy business chairman for the council with responsibility for public protection, said: “Underage drinking is a concern for the council because of the impact it can have on a child’s safety and development as well as on community safety. This work, where the council’s trading standards and licensing team’s work with the police, is one of the most effective ways off addressing problems at their source.”