Traders pass the alcohol test

TRADERS in Felixstowe have passed the test when it comes to selling alcohol to kids – but were today warned they will be prosecuted if they fail in future.

TRADERS in Felixstowe have passed the test when it comes to selling alcohol to kids – but were today warned they will be prosecuted if they fail in future.

Police said shopkeepers appear to be learning their lesson after three undercover operations to track down which ones are selling booze to under-age teenagers.

But Felixstowe sector commander Insp Andy Bushell said the operations would carry on and police would not hesitate to prosecute shops selling alcohol to youngsters.

"I have written to the shops which we have tested to say well done, but I have also reminded them of their moral and legal responsibilities," he said.


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"These operations will carry on because under-age drinking is still a problem and we need to do all we can to prevent the youngsters obtaining the alcohol.

"If we find shops selling alcohol then they will be prosecuted, but we are pleased that at the moment they are acting correctly and challenging youngsters."

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Two months ago, officers found four out of five stores tested sold alcohol to a 14-year-old girl with no questions asked.

In the latest two operations 12 shops, off licences and supermarkets were visited using teenagers trying to purchase drink in under cover operations – and only one shop failed to meet the mark.

Licensing officer PC Richard Durrant said the latest operation – a joint project with trading standards officers – had involved visiting premises which had sold alcohol the first time, and this time all refused to sell to the youngsters.

"It seems they have learned their lessons and have improved their procedures because of the mistakes they made last time," he said.

"Everyone is getting the message. The shops never know when we will turn up – and when and where we will turn up next.

"We are very pleased with the improvement and the positive action being taken. All shops need to do is to challenge any youngsters whose ages they do not feel confident about and ask for identification.

"Youngsters who are legally allowed to purchase alcohol can obtain a Prove It card and that is all they then need to show."

Director of Suffolk trading standards Steven Greenfield said officers were pleased with the way the test purchases went and that shopkeepers were sticking to the law.

The operations were set up because alcohol consumption by teenagers was a growing problem in the summer, leading to vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

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