Four off-licences in Southampton were caught selling alcohol to underage youngsters in a police sting.

Two youths aged under 18, under the watchful eye of plain clothes police officers, were sent into a selection of off-licences in Bitterne to see if they could buy any alcohol.

Of the seven shops they went into the pair managed to successfully buy an alcoholic drink from four of them.

They were Laly's Costcutter in Thornhill Park Road, Co-op in Hinkler Road, Alpine News in Vanguard Road, and London Off-licence, St Catherine's Road, Bitterne Park.

The four shop assistants who sold the booze have been given £80 fixed penalty notices.

The other three - the Co-op in Midanbury Broadway, the Co-op in West End Road and the Premier Parade in Forest Hills Drive - passed the test.

PC Lou Carter of Hampshire Police who led the operation said: “It was disappointing that more shops failed than passed in our test purchase operation.

"All off-licences should be checking ages of people if they are not obviously over 18 and asking for proof.

“We recommend they actually extend this to anyone who looks under 25.

“We will be speaking with the owners of the shops who failed and making recommendations to them about such things as staff training to make sure they don't fail again.

"Shops that continually do fail are likely to have their licence taken away.”