Crackdown on under-age sales in Derbyshire

Trading standards officers and police are teaming up to launch a crackdown on pubs and clubs across Derbyshire that sell alcohol to young people.

Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Police will carry out a series of test purchase operations throughout the year.

It follows similar exercises in 2010 when almost half of the licensed premises checked broke the law.

Teams of young volunteers visited 57 pubs and clubs during a series of operations and attempted to buy alcohol.

Of those 26 – or 48 per cent - sold alcohol illegally to the young people.

Under the Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence to sell alcohol to under-18s.

Councillor Kevin Parkinson, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “These checks targeted premises where we’d received information that they may be supplying alcohol to young people and the results would seem to bear this out.

In last year’s crackdown trading standards officers issued 39 fixed penalty notices and made voluntary changes to licence conditions at 19 premises to make them more stringent.

There were also three licence reviews which resulted in a 28-day suspension, one business ceased trading and new conditions were added to another’s licence.

Officers also gave advice and information to businesses and held a seminar in Chesterfield attended by more than 100 licensees to help them understand the law.

Councillor Parkinson added: “This event gave very clear messages to licensees about what was expected from them and provided them with information and advice to enable them to operate more responsibly.”

The county council has set aside £10,000 to carry out the new programme of checks during 2011/12.