Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 00:39 UK

Underage alcohol crackdown starts

The police will send under-18s to try to buy alcohol

A test purchasing operation has started in the Borders to target licensed premises selling alcohol to under-18s.

A group of teenagers will be sent out across the region to see if they can successfully buy alcoholic drinks.

Posters highlighting the campaign have been distributed across pubs, clubs, hotels and off-licences.

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

Second visit

Insp Mike Wynne, of Lothian and Borders Police, said the programme was not designed to "make life difficult" for traders.

"Every premises has been supplied with a booklet of information on test purchasing," he said.

"All licensees should be aware that this is coming."

A "recruited" young person aged about 16 is sent into premises to try to buy alcohol.

"If that purchase goes through they come out of the shop and officers then go into the shop," Insp Wynne said.

"At all times the young person is in visual contact with police."

Anyone caught selling alcohol will be subject to a second visit by test purchasers and reported to the procurator fiscal.

"We don't have a great problem in the Borders with underage drinking," Insp Wynne added.

"But there are small pockets where underage drinking goes on."

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