Under-18 drink sting catches three city shops

THREE Glasgow shops are facing court action for selling alcohol to police "spy kids."

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Shops are facing prosecution for selling alcohol to under-age "spy" kids
Shops are facing prosecution for selling alcohol to under-age "spy" kids

THREE Glasgow shops are facing court action for selling alcohol to police "spy kids."

Police said the stores have been reported to the procurator fiscal for selling alcohol to a 16-year-old.

The shops were Aldi in High Street, Shopsmart in Broomfield Road, Royston, and Quickcut in Garrioch Road, Maryhill.

It follows a series of stings by officers in communities blighted by underage drinking.

Detectives sent youngsters into almost 2000 pubs, clubs, corner shops, off-sales and supermarkets, as part of a "test purchasing" scheme.

It is alleged 16-year-olds managed to buy alcohol without being challenged by staff in all three of the city stores.

The test purchases are aimed at rooting out underage drink sales and cut violent crime, disorder, and anti-social behaviour.

Letters were also sent out to all licensees across Glasgow warning them the operation was about to take place in the city.

The move is part of Operation Relay, a major crackdown aimed at violent criminals, gangs and serious and organised crime groups.

Senior officers believe targeting low-level offending, such as street drinking, anti-social behaviour and disorder, can reduce the number of violent incidents.

Test purchase operations, the scheme under which underage teenagers are sent into stores to see if they can buy booze, are part of that.

Chief Inspector Hilary Sloan, the officer in charge, said the operation had been a huge success.

She said: "The majority of the premises adhered to the legislation, with underage customers being challenged and ultimately refused service.

"These results show what can be achieved if we work with businesses and local communities."

Police and Glasgow City Council trading standards officers now want shopkeepers to keep up the good work. Ms Sloan said officers are trying a variety of tactics, ­including using licensing legislation, to keep alcoholic drinks out of children's reach.

She said: "Police Scotland must engage with local communities and promotes measures to prevent crime, harm and disorder.

"By improving the health and wellbeing of young people and making local communities safer places to live, everyone can play their part in keeping people safe."

Off-sales, supermarkets and pubs which are caught out by the test buys can now be reported to licensing boards by Police Scotland.

Police say test purchase operations are just part of an increasing drive to stop youngsters getting their hands on alcohol.

Operation Relay runs until May 31.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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