ANYONE aged under 21 will not be allowed to buy alcohol from shops in a Southampton community in a bid to cut the number of underage drinkers.

Hampshire police has seen an increase in the number of drink- fuelled incidents around the Coxford, Lordshill and Millbrook areas and as a result has signed up licensed premises in the area to the new scheme.

It is the first time under 21s have been banned from buying alcohol in any part of the city and it is hoped the pilot scheme will reduce antisocial behaviour.

Anyone wanting to purchase alcohol from one of the participating premises between 6pm and 11pm on a Friday and Saturday will have to be aged 21 or over and have ID to prove it.

“The licensed premises involved in the scheme are taking a really responsible attitude in helping us tackle antisocial behaviour fuelled by alcohol,” said Coxford SNT Sergeant, Mark Brearley.

“In the past six months we have seen a marked rise in underage drinking and possession of alcohol in and around the Coxford and Lordshill areas and this initiative is aimed at making our neighbourhoods safer.

“It is a short-term initiative, but if we continue to achieve positive results with a reduction in crime then we would like to see the scheme rolled out permanently and supported by all the local licensed premises in the area.”

Manager at Tesco supermarket in Tebourba Way, Millbrook, Kev Rowland, said: “We take the issue of underage drinking extremely seriously and will continue to dedicate resources to supporting our staff, the local community and the police in tackling this.”