IT IS not clear if council officials sent a 16-year-old into the Park and Shop garage in Falmer Road, Woodingdean, specifically because an application had been made for a 24-hour licence.

But after the teenager waltzed out having successfully purchased a bottle of Scrumpy Jack, or the like, the licensing panel needs to take a very dim view.

There is no point having these rules, and making these test purchases if you then say to the garage, yes, go on, you can sell alcohol at all hours and we trust you to sell it to people who are aged 18 and over.

The shop failed the test, so the application should fail.

Our youngsters must be protected from drinking themselves into trouble as much as we can. We were all young once, we all liked to try a drink, but they should not be able to buy it. That, simply, is the law.

We hear of too many tragedies involving youngsters and drink.

The alcohol education charity Drinkaware has great advice for parents

These include agreeing rules and boundaries around alcohol, helping them to see they can say “no” to alcohol and preventing alcohol from being the answer to boredom.

We all need to remember it is against the law to sell alcohol to someone under 18 anywhere.

Adults must not buy or attempt to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18. Retailers can reserve the right to refuse the sale of alcohol to an adult if they’re accompanied by a child and think the alcohol is being bought for the child.

Just last Friday an Argus staff member witnessed a man, wearing a high vis jacket, handing a four pack of lager and change to some teenagers outside a shop.

They thanked him and went on their way. Let’s hope none of them ended up in hospital having their stomach pumped.

Youngsters are naturally curious, but take the chance to talk to them if they ask questions.