Devon independent retailer Lesley Brown has written to the Prime Minister to demand more government help in the fight against underage drinking. 

Lesley, who owns Frankmarsh Stores in Barnstaple with her husband Bill, told Gordon Brown that it was upsetting for the huge majority of retailers who sell alcohol responsibly to see newspaper headlines and MPs singling out independent retailers as the main cause of underage drinking.

Lesley called for the PM to give retailers the "tools to help us do the policing you and some of the public expect".

Lesley wants to see the introduction of compulsory ID for people aged 18-21, which could take the form of a 'citizencard'. She has also called for a compulsory education programme for all 10- and 11-year-olds on the dangers of alcohol abuse, similar to that offered as part of the British Institute of Innkeepers' (BII) Schools Project. Lesley also demanded a greater prosecution rate of adults who supply alcohol to the underage children.

She told Convenience Store: "I haven't heard back from the Prime Minister yet, but I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say. We're hoping we can get involved in a BII Schools Project in our area. It would involve sponsoring a local school and help provide it with educational materials. We're looking for a school which has the right commitment level. The project would involve giving children a certificate in alcohol awareness. I think it's vital that we speak to schools in order to educate children of the dangers of alcohol."
Lesley also took the opportunity to invite the PM to spend some time in an independent  c-store. Her MP, Lib Dem Nick Harvey, recently spent an evening working behind the counter at Lesley's store.