The Home Office is understood to be planning a new crackdown on off licences selling alcohol to the underaged, following the perceived success of similar campaigns last year.
Last October's operation saw 224 so-called 'problem' licensed outlets in England and Wales targeted with three test purchases within a month. Those that failed two or more tests - 42 pubs, c-stores and off licences - had their licences reviewed, with some of them having alcohol sales suspended for as long as three months.
The new campaign is expected to run for a month starting in early May, mirroring a similar crackdown that took place at the same time last year, and is expected to concentrate on outlets where problems have already been logged. However, last October's activity shows that the Home Office is determined to make an example out of stores that fail test purchases, and under new legislation police can force the closure of an outlet for 48 hours if it is shown to be 'persistently' selling alcohol to children.
Those outlets failing more than one test purchase could see their licences reviewed or suspended, while even a single failure can lead to the staff member making the sale being issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder and a fine of £80.
The crackdown comes as the authorities are increasingly making a link between the sale of alcohol and anti-social behaviour in communities, particularly by youngsters.

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