TRADING Standards officers from Southampton City Council joined forces with Hampshire police to carry out checks for under-age alcohol sales at off-licences.

Working with a 15-year-old male volunteer, the officers checked nine shops on the evening of July 13 to see if they would sell alcohol to a child.

Seven shops refused the sale but two sold cans of lager to the boy without asking for proof of age.

A city coucil spokesperson said: "The shops that did sell alcohol to a minor are in breach of the conditions on their premises licence.

"This will be taken into consideration if there are any further breaches, when the licence can be suspended or revoked.

"The licence holders should also have provided adequate training to all staff members to prevent underage sales, at one of the offending shops this training had not been given.

"The police issued a fixed penalty notice to the trained member of staff at the other premises who sold the cans to the child.

"Illegal non-UK duty paid alcohol, including beers and vodka, were also found at both premises.

"Alcohol should be labelled in English and spirits of 30% or more should bear a UK duty stamp – easily recognised as a pink circle which states 'For the UK Market', and is required on bottles of spirits of 35cl or more.

"If this is missing then it cannot be sold and the illegal sale of non UK duty paid alcohol can also lead to a premise losing its alcohol licence. Trading Standards are continuing their investigation into this matter."

Cabinet member for communities, culture & heritage, Cllr Spiros Vassiliou, said: “I'd like to extend my thanks to our Trading Standards team and Hampshire Constabulary for the work they've carried out.

"Whilst it’s disappointing that two premises have sold alcohol to a child it is reassuring that the majority of licensed premises were doing what they should be doing: challenging the child, asking for identification, and when this was not provided, refusing the sale.

"This action carried out by Trading Standards and the Police show we are willing to take strong measures against any organisation that is breaking the law."