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Secret probe uncovers underage boozing

PUBLISHED: 23:09 04 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

UNDERCOVER checks have revealed that an Ipswich shop sold alcohol to a child under the age of 18.

Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards department and Suffolk Police undertook the covert joint operation to tackle underage drinking after a number of complaints were received about the stores in question.

UNDERCOVER checks have revealed that an Ipswich shop sold alcohol to a child under the age of 18.

Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards department and Suffolk Police undertook the covert joint operation to tackle underage drinking after a number of complaints were received about the stores in question.

At the stores visited, alcohol was sold illegally at one and the others refused after questioning the age of teenager shopper.

The store where staff made the sale may now face legal action.

Peter Monk, member of the county council's executive committee, said: "We're very disappointed that there are still premises out there that continue to sell alcohol to young people.

"A number of the shops questioned the age of the purchaser and refused to sell but, unfortunately, one did not.

"We've had complaints about underage sales from these shops and have worked closely with the police on this issue. Traders know they are breaking the law when they sell to teenagers and should be aware of the damage that alcohol does to young people."

The Evening Star recently investigated the binge drinking culture among young people, especially women.

Mr Monk added: "We all know that teenagers and alcohol don't go well together and the anti-social effect alcohol abuse can have on our local communities. This is why trading standards and the police are working together to crack down on under-age sales of alcohol.

"We view these offences very seriously and we will consider legal action against any retailer that sells alcohol to underage purchasers."

Acting Inspector Nick Stonehouse said: "This scheme is being piloted in Ipswich to target premises where we have had information that alcohol is being sold to people under the age of 18. We have continual problems of disorder in certain areas of the town some of that involve youths under the influence of alcohol.

"We hope by targeting premises in particular areas, incidents of disorder will reduce, thus improving the quality of life to residents and visitors to the area."

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