THREE Huddersfield pubs sold booze to underage teenagers in a police “sting”.
Now police are warning that others could be targeted – and stripped of their licences if they fail the test.
The pubs in Milnsbridge, Kirkheaton and Scissett all served the 15-year-old sent in undercover.
Insp David Glover, of Huddersfield South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We did this operation on the back of reports from members of the public, who often have to put up with loutish behaviour of young people who have had too much to drink when leaving such premises.
“Anti-social behaviour is frequently top of the agenda and the sale of alcohol to underage customers is fuelling this problem.
“Offences committed by young people fuelled by alcohol are often experienced and can range from mindless vandalism to serious assault, all of which has a negative impact on residents’ quality of life.
“It can also have a huge impact on the child's future.”
Police in West Yorkshire have carried out 200 test purchases at off licences in the last year. Forty of the retailers failed.
But this was the first time they had targeted on-licensed premises.
The operation was carried out jointly with West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
The individual bar staff who served the teenagers have been issued with £50 Fixed Penalty Notices and trading standards officials are now considering action against the licensees.
Insp Glover said he was surprised all three pubs had failed the test.
He added: “In all three of the premises the 15-year-olds visited, they were not asked about their age, nor were they asked for identification.
“Each has now been issued with fixed penalty notices.
“One of the pubs even had door staff who did not challenge the 15 year olds.
“Our officers dealt directly with the company who runs the door staff and I believe the doorman is no longer working for them.”
He said he would be applying for funding to target more pubs and bars – and warned they faced losing their licences if they failed the test.
His comments come after a drinker at one of the targeted pubs wrote to the Examiner to complain about the sting.
His letter, published on June 25, complained that the police were trying to “entrap” the pubs and branded the operation a waste of police time and taxpayers’ money.
But Insp Glover said such tactics were no secret. He added: “We conduct operations of this type on a regular basis and licensees are well aware of this.
“Although the identity of our underage customers is kept a secret the operation itself is something which we want licensees to be aware of.
“We used 14 and 15-year-old boys and girls of all backgrounds and the intention is that they look what they are – children.
“The idea is not to catch them out – we simply want them to look at every customer and question their age.
“Knowing that test purchasers are operating in the area will ensure that they are on their guard and working within the boundaries of their licence.”
To report premises selling to underage drinkers, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.