Retailers who are caught selling alcohol to under 18s could have their alcohol licences revoked for up to 48 hours as part of legislation announced by the government in its new Violent Crime Bill.

Under the new powers, retailers who fail three test purchases in a three month period will be banned from selling alcohol for a period of 24 to 48 hours.

However, c-store retailers will be exempt from a clause in the new bill forcing licensed premises to contribute to the cost of cleaning up after alcohol-related disorder, as this will only apply to licensed premises whose principal purpose is to sell alcohol, such as pubs, clubs and off licences.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has been in talks with the Home Office this week to clarify how the new Bill will affect retailers. ACS public affairs manager James Lowman said: “We support the move by the government to ban stores who flaunt licensing laws by selling to under 18s. No retailer should fail three separate test purchases. Before it gets to that stage, retailers need to be encouraged to train their staff to always ask for ID.”

The new bill also gives police the power to exclude individuals responsible for alcohol-related disorder from certain areas and licensed premises by imposing Drinking Banning Orders, which could run for up to two years.

The comprehensive package of measures to combat violent crime, which were announced by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears, also set out powers to ban the manufacture and sale of imitation firearms and toughen sentences for carrying them.

In addition, the legal age for buying knives will be raised from 16 to 18 years old.