OFF-LICENCES have been warned about the risks of serving underage drinkers following multiple breaches.

Officers from Brighton and Hove's Police licencing team conducted an operation targeting businesses on August 11 to ensure they were following the rules.

Six stores were approached by volunteers posing as customers under the age of 18 attempting to purchase alcohol.

Four out of six stores in Brighton and Hove failed the test by agreeing to serve them without conducting the necessary identification checks.

Officers have engaged with the store owners to investigate how the breaches occurred and to review the terms of their licences.

The team will also educate store owners on how to comply with their licence conditions and ensure alcohol is sold only to people proven to be over the age of 18.

Shop workers are obliged to request proof of age if somebody attempting to purchase alcohol appears to be under 25 years of age.

Undercover alcohol licence checks are carried out across the city as part of Operation Tepee, with the aim of reducing harm and anti-social behaviour, particularly among young people.

Stores found to be in breach of their licences risk losing their permission to sell alcohol.

Chief inspector Andrew Westwood said the sale of alcohol to young people under the age of 18 is not only a serious risk to public health but also fuels anti-social behaviour in the city.

"Alcohol vendors have a responsibility to ensure their customers are over the legal age limit and should ask to see some identification if there is any doubt,” he said.

"The Challenge 25 policy is simple - if a customer trying to buy alcohol looks under 25, confirm their age.

"Through Operation Tepee we will continue to conduct checks on off-licences, engage with any found to be in breach of their licence conditions and take enforcement action where required."

In 2019, nine businesses sold alcohol to underage teenagers in test sales which were conducted in Brighton and Hove.

Seven off-licences failed test purchases. The other two premises were described as “on-sales” businesses.

The nine failed test purchases accounted for more than a quarter of the 35 businesses which were visited from May to August last year.