Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Monday, 10 December 2007

Under-age alcohol sale test failed

The underage drinking campaign was launched last week

Police have said they are "saddened" at the number of premises selling alcohol to under-18s during a test purchase operation in Dumfries and Galloway.

Three out of seven businesses targeted in Annan failed the test despite a high-profile launch to the campaign.

Ch Insp Michael Collins said he was "bitterly disappointed" at the results just two days into the operation.

Five women are to be reported to the procurator fiscal on charges related to selling alcohol to a person under 18.

Dumfries and Galloway Police launched the campaign on 5 December.

Mr Collins said that the initial results were of great concern.

We will continue to use test purchasers in our operations to reduce the amount or alcohol available to our young people
Ch Insp Michael Collins

"I am bitterly disappointed that three local licensees have already failed the test purchasing operation, only two days after the initiative was launched," he said.

"Before this operation was launched every licensee received a letter advising that such a course of action would be carried out."

He said that a widespread advertising campaign had also apparently failed to get the message across.

Heed warnings

"This saddens me and illustrates to me that our test purchasing initiative is entirely justified and needed," said Mr Collins.

"We will continue to use test purchasers in our operations to reduce the amount of alcohol available to our young people.

"I would urge licensed premises to listen to our warnings otherwise they will end up being reported as well."

He also asked parents to be aware of where their children were during the evenings and to warn them of the dangers associated with alcohol.

Test purchasing involves trained young people attempting to buy alcohol on behalf of the police to identify where under-18s can purchase drink illegally.

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