A call by an obscure campaign body to scrap age-verification policies such as Think 21 or Challenge 25 has been dismissed by retailers' representatives.

The Manifesto Club, which campaigns against "the hyper-regulation of everyday life" said in its Manifesto Club Report that thousands of innocent adults are being "punished" by ID checks that fail to tackle the problems of underage drinking.

Adults should be "free to stock up on drink without being treated like criminals," the report said, adding that it was "not flattering" for adults to be asked for ID by store workers.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman was quick to dismiss the comments.

"The fact is that it is impossible to tell how old someone is just by looking at them, so retailers have to work on the basis that it's pretty rare for someone to look a full seven years younger than they are," he said.

"The situation is dazzlingly clear. Retailers can lose their livelihoods if they sell alcohol to someone underage. If they break the law while trading, they can lose everything. Enforcement in this area is extremely tough and so retailers have to ask for ID."