The government has unveiled its biggest ever crackdown on retailers who sell alcohol to children.
Saying that the sale of alcohol to children “will not be tolerated”, Home Office minister Paul Goggins announced that more than 5,500 “sting” operations will take place in the run-up to Christmas.
Young people are being drafted in to help the operation. Under-age volunteers under the supervision of trading standards officers will attempt to buy alcohol in licensed premises in England and Wales.
“Selling alcohol to under-18s is not only irresponsible, it is a criminal offence. Shopkeepers and licensees can expect an undercover visit from trading standards and police over the festive period,” Goggins said.
Retailers who are found selling alcohol to children face penalties ranging from an £80 fixed penalty notice for the staff member selling the alcohol, to a £5,000 fine and the threat of having their licence suspended or revoked for licensees.
Stiff sanctions will also apply to young people who are caught attempting to buy alcohol. They will face fixed penalty notices of £50, or fines of up to £1,000 on conviction.