Portsmouth Trading Standards is this month involving retailers in a city-wide campaign to clamp down on adults who buy alcohol for underage drinkers.

Proxywatch will initially encourage adults to report incidents of proxy purchasing and subsequent anti-social behaviour. It follows a year-long awareness drive across the city during which 40,000 leaflets were distributed to adults.

Once a database of problem areas has been assembled, trading standards officers (TSOs) will work with police to carry out surveillance outside stores to gather the evidence needed for prosecution.

Incidents can be reported anonymously via a dedicated 24-hour phoneline, as well as by text or email.

Southern Co-op, which has 22 stores in Portsmouth, has been heavily involved in the launch of ProxyWatch. Loss prevention manager Gareth Lewis told Convenience Store: "The campaign will inform our adult customers of the repercussions of supplying alcohol to a minor and invite them to report witnessed incidents of adults purchasing alcohol and supplying those underage. This will then assist Trading Standards and the police in identifying trends and hopefully those responsible.

"It's the first time in the UK that TSOs have worked so closely with the retail community on this and they should be applauded."

Retailers, including all of Southern Co-op's stores, will be provided with A3 posters as well as discreet information cards.

Portsmouth's principal TSO Neil Fitzpatrick added: "We realise that retailers have made significant reductions in underage sales. The problem has now mutated to proxy sales and shoplifting, however. We're not here to beat shopkeepers with a stick, but to work with them to tackle the problem."