A South Tyneside business is being investigated for selling booze to an underage youngster after being caught out in an undercover sting by trading standards officers.
Young people were tasked with going into off-licences as part of test purchasing operations carried out by the council team during the recent Darker Nights campaign.
Most traders act responsibly and comply with the law. However underage sales do occur in a minority of cases.Council spokesman
A total of eleven businesses were visited with one premises - which can’t be named for legal reasons - now being under investigation.
The Darker Nights campaign ran during the October half-term holiday taking in Halloween and Bonfire Night in a bid to reduce youth disorder. A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “As part of the work to prevent underage sales of alcohol, regular test purchasing is undertaken by the council’s trading standards team. This is usually intelligence-led in response to information we receive.
“Trading standards officers also visit the owners of all new off-licence premises to ensure they are fully aware of their responsibilities. Visits to all off-licences in a particular area are also carried out if there are concerns about alcohol-related youth disorder in an area. “Visits are also undertaken to offer advice to businesses at the request of the owner or manager.”
She added: “Most traders act responsibly and comply with the law. However underage sales do occur in a minority of cases. Every such sale is fully investigated by trading standards and appropriate action taken.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Denise Townsley said: “While we don’t have a significant issue with underage drinking we do know it can be a catalyst for anti-social behaviour and work very closely with South Tyneside Council to help prevent young people from getting their hands on alcohol in the first place.
“Those who are caught selling alcohol to anyone underage can face a fine and premises who consistently do so could see the conditions of their licence reviewed.”
People can report underage sales in confidence by calling 0800 093 5878 or by texting the word “UNDERAGE” followed by the details to 07786 200 802.