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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 17:38 GMT
Tesco shops lose alcohol licences
The Tesco Express store in Downland Drive
The Downland Drive store sold alcohol to under-18s three times
Two Tesco stores in a West Sussex town have had their alcohol licences suspended for a month.

The move by Crawley Borough Council follows an undercover police operation in October, where 15-year-olds were sent into shops to try to buy alcohol.

The Licensing Committee imposed 28-day bans on the stores in Downland Drive and Dobbins Place, Crawley.

A Tesco outlet in Worthing also lost its licence last month. The supermarket chain said it was disappointed.

A spokesperson said: "We take the sale of alcohol to underage people extremely seriously and continue to dedicate substantial resources to improving our Think 21 procedures and supporting our staff in tackling underage sales.

This is about deterrent [and] reducing the sale of alcohol to children
Jean Irving, Sussex Police

"We are disappointed with this decision and are considering our options."

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said Tesco had 21 days in which to appeal to the town's magistrates' court.

He added that, upon reinstatement of the licences, each of the stores would be required to have a named licensee.

That person will also have to be on the Tesco premises from 1800 GMT until closing time on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

People under the age of 18 were sold alcohol at the Crawley and Worthing stores during the undercover operation.

Sussex Police had wanted the alcohol licences to be revoked for up to three months.

Spokeswoman Jean Irving said: "This is about deterrent and about the council supporting the police and trading standards, and ensuring that we're reducing the sale of alcohol to children and protecting them from harm."

How local people reacted to the alcohol ban

Tesco alcohol licence suspended
20 Jan 07 |  Southern Counties
Police call for Tesco alcohol ban
04 Jan 07 |  Southern Counties

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