The Home Office is calling on the retail trade to act in a more co-ordinated way to combat the problem of underage drinking.

The appeal came after ministers met with the six major supermarket chains, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to discuss ways to tackle sales of alcohol to minors. The group is to meet in the coming weeks to discuss ways current initiatives can be developed, and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is to represent the small store sector.

The ACS’ Shane Brennan commented: “The group has said the best way to go forward is for everyone to work together, and that’s a positive thing. We welcome the Home Office wish for better co-ordination and will continue to work with the BRC and others to discuss what can be done.” Spar retailer John Inglis from Southampton told C-Store: “I’m not sure what more the government can do to support retailers and I’m not convinced teenagers are going to take much notice. It is up to us as a sector to do our bit and try to control it by sticking to the law.”

This week shoppers in Derbyshire are being targeted with a poster campaign to discourage them from buying alcohol on behalf of youngsters. The posters, devised by the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership, highlight the fact that buying alcohol for minors is an offence carrying a £1,000 fine. A second poster has been produced to provide store staff with advice on how to identify those committing the offence.

Retailer Marion Knight, from Netherseal in South Derbyshire, said: “I have stuck the posters up already. I always ask anyone who looks underage for ID but it is harder to control adults buying for under-18s.”