Police officers tackling underage drinking in Bishop Auckland are warning parents not to buy alcohol.

Operation ‘ARIES’ aims to cut underage drinking in the town and the latest initiative is to clamp down on adults buying alcohol for under 18s.

This week Durham Constabulary and those involved in ARIES attended Sainsbury’s at St. Helen Auckland where a warning stating “buying for an u18? It’s an offence” was spray painted at the entrance.  An advertising board is also displayed outside of the supermarket with the same message.

Sergeant Mick Urwin, from Durham Constabulary’s Harm Reduction Unit and the project lead, said: “We know that the provision of alcohol to under 18s by parents, grandparents, older siblings or friends is a key problem to tackle. This leads to associated issues such as vulnerability, safeguarding and anti-social behaviour.

“Eighty per cent of the alcohol taken off underage drinkers is found to have come from adults. Rarely do we come across shops that are selling to under 18s.

“Adults who provide alcohol to young people need to consider what the effect that alcohol can have. We aren’t talking about an odd glass of wine with the Sunday dinner at home. We are seeing young people drinking in vulnerable areas, out of the way, not particularly bothering anyone but consuming large amounts of alcohol supplied by adult friends or family.

“If we identify adults buying or supplying alcohol to underage drinkers then they are liable to a £90 penalty notice or to be summonsed to court where the fine is unlimited and they will receive a criminal record.

“The vast majority of retailers who sell alcohol in Bishop Auckland are responsible and do not sell to under 18s – where we receive information to the contrary we, alongside Trading Standards will take action and where underage sales are concerned we invariably look to have their licences revoked. We are grateful to the support shown to the project by Sainsbury’s and other retailers in the town.”

Any information as to any shop or individuals selling or supplying alcohol to underage drinkers can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0345 555 888 or the ARIES project can be contacted via email – aries@durham.pnn.police.uk

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