Pubs and off-licences rapped in underage drinking operation

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A police investigation into underage drinking in Morley has seen a number of the area’s off licenses and pubs reported for summons.

The operation saw neighbourhood police teams send a 16 year-old to a total of 23 shops in the area as well as 13 public houses in a bid to purchase alcohol and test identification procedures.

A total of five off licenses and three pubs failed the test purchase, which was conducted on December 30.

Pub and off-licence workers who sold booze to underage customers have also been ordered to attend police training sessions.

Nine members of staff at pubs and off-licences, primarily in Morley and Middleton, were caught selling alcohol to buyers aged 15 and 16 in the police operation.

Forty-seven premises were tested in total.

Those that failed the test were given community resolutions, which include conditions that they attend a police station, accompanied by their manager or the licensee, to be reminded of their responsibilities.

Licensing officer Sgt Dave Shaw said: “The Christmas period is a time when we have an increased focus on licensing issues that can impact on crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The results of this latest test purchase operation show a failure rate just short of a 20 per cent. We will be stepping up our test purchase operations throughout 2015 at pubs and off-licences across the Leeds district to ensure that children are protected.”

Underage drinking has been subject to a nationwide crackdown over recent years, with 16 people in the UK convicted of buying alcohol for a child between 2009 and 2013 and requests for proof of identity increasing in shops and pubs.

However, evidence suggests that under 18s are far more likely to be get alcohol from relatives or older friends than from a shop.

On the spot fines of £90 can be issued to people who help children buy alcohol.