Under-age alcohol stores shamed

POLICE have named and shamed shops which illegally sold alcohol and knives to under-18s in Leeds.

In the largest test purchase operation ever run in West Yorkshire over 350 premises were visited by a teenager accompanied by a plainclothes officer posing as a customer.

The aim of the Operation Breech crackdown, which ran from November to April, was to reduce youth violence which often stems from binge drinking.

All the test purchases took place on Friday and Saturday nights in areas which have seen incidents of youth violence.

Recent figures show that almost 40 per cent of all youth violence takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Police yesterday named the Leeds shops who sold alcohol to the under-18 test purchaser.

The shops which sold alcohol were: Threshers Wine Shop in King Lane; Sainsbury's at Jacksons, Harehills Lane; News Extra, Harehills Lane; Dib Lane Stores, 116A Dibb Lane; BK Stores, Harehills Road; Barthorpe Post Office, Stainbeck Road; Bahia Newsagents Life Style Express, 207 Chapeltown Road; Nisa Store, Stainbeck Road; Oddbins, Street Lane; Bargain Booze, Cherry Row, Lincoln Green; Ivy Grove Stores, Ivy Grove, East End Park; Somerfield, Street Lane.

Each of the premises illegally selling alcohol was issued with a penalty notice of 80 and will be closely monitored by licensing authorities with increased follow-up visits.

Young test purchasers also attempted buy a knife on 33 separate occasions and was sold to by four shops in Leeds. These were: J's, Roundhay Road; Jacks Hardware, Harrogate Road; BK Stores, Harehills Road; Pound Store, Harehills Lane.

Each of the premises illegally selling alcohol to the underage purchaser was issued with a penalty notice of 80 and will be closely monitored by licensing authorities with increased follow up visits.

The four shops that sold a knife to the test purchaser have been warned about their legal responsibilities and their details have been passed to Trading Standards for follow up action and increased monitoring.

Alongside the test purchase operations at off-licences and supermarkets, police also targeted licensed premises within north east Leeds including the use of police drugs search dogs.

The dog sniffed out several people who were carrying drugs.

A 26 year-old man was arrested from East End Park Working Men's Club for possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

A 21-year-old man was arrested from the Streets of Leeds public house in Roundhay for possession on Class B drugs with intent to supply.

Two men aged 20 and 22 were also arrested from the Roundhay public house for possession of a class B drug.

Insp Tony Reed, who leads the Chapel Allerton Neighbourhood Policing Team and devised Operation Breech, said: "One of the main contributing factors behind youth violence is the illegal sale of alcohol to young people.

"We are determined to stamp this out and we have made substantial progress over the last five months through this widespread test purchase operation.

"It was quite clear that through the progress of Operation Breech there was a significant fall in the number of sales made to those under the legal drinking age.

"This tactic is something we will continue to use and any premises found to repeatedly serve alcohol to someone underage will significantly jeopardise their licence.

"The illegal sale of alcohol to young people seriously undermines much of the work we do and places many young people in vulnerable and dangerous circumstances.

"This significantly increases the chances of them becoming a victim of crime themselves or making poor decisions and compromising their own safety."