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December 5, 2012, 2:45 pm

Throughout November, South Yorkshire Police carried out intelligence -led test purchase operations on key licence premises across the county and this will continue in December.

Young people aged 15 to 16 will be visiting all licensed premises including bars, public houses and off licences and will attempt to purchase alcohol.

A premises will encounter a fail if they serve the underage customer. The police will then return to inform the licenses of their failed test purchase operation and they will be issued with a fixed-penalty ticket.

For all those premises that fail, a second test purchasing operation will be conducted soon after. If a premises fails twice, they will be asked to either close voluntarily for 48 hours or be prosecuted.

In November 123 premises were visited in Sheffield of which 17 failed and sold underage alcohol and in Barnsley 60 premises were visited of which 14 failed.

Superintendent Shaun Morley of South Yorkshire Police said: “We want to tackle underage drinking over the Christmas period and if we can get the licensed premises to be extra vigilant then we are some way to achieving this.

“We are wanting licensed premises to work with us and hold some responsibility when it comes to underage drinking.

“The test purchasing operations will be targeting those premises we have relevant intelligence to suggest they are serving alcohol to underage people.

“If a premises fails the first test purchase operation we will inform them, giving them chance to speak to all members of their staff and rectify the issue. If, however, they are caught twice, then tougher action is needed and they will therefore be asked to either close for 48 hours voluntarily or attend court.

“By having such robust consequences in place we are hoping that each premises will think twice about serving someone that looks underage without a valid form of ID.”

Police enforcement throughout December is supported by a media campaign called Start thinking reduce your drinking, which focuses on a range of messages including drink driving, safe socialising, anti-social drinking and domestic violence.

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