Sellers of alcohol to under-18s face fines

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UNDERAGE drinkers in the Halifax area will find it harder to buy alcohol following a crackdown on its sale to youngsters.

The district’s licensing officers teamed up with neighbourhood policing teams, Special Constables and West Yorkshire Trading Standards to visit 33 off licensed premises and nine pubs and bars in Calderdale.

Boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 15 years were involved in the special operation to test whether pubs and off-licenses would sell alcohol to youngsters without asking for proof of age.

Eight off-licenses and two pubs sold alcohol to underage youngsters in the borough.

Two premises in Todmorden failed the test, as did one in Rastrick, Brighouse, Lightcliffe and Southowram. They were joined by premises in Sowerby Bridge and two in Halifax.

Seven £80 penalty notice tickets were issued to shop assistants who sold alcohol and one shop owner was reported for summons for the offence of selling alcohol to someone under the age of 18.

Inspector Derek Benn, for Calderdale’s Community Safety Partnership, said: “All owners and supervisors of the premises who made the sales are now being visited and spoken to regarding offences which have been committed.

“Underage drinking has a negative impact on local communities so it is especially important at this time of year that all alcohol retailers understand their responsibilities to assist the Police in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour which is often fuelled by alcohol.

“Alcohol is often a key factor in crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour, particularly when it involves young people and we are urging licensees to work with us and be careful during the busy run-up to Christmas.”

The operation coincides with improved work by officers from policing teams and the roads policing unit to monitor the roads for drink drivers over the festive season.