Child 'traps' proposed

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The Independent Online
Children should be allowed to pose as customers to trap off-licences selling alcohol to under-age buyers, Labour said yesterday. The call came as a leading children's doctor said three out of four emergencies she had encountered at one stage involved drunk adolescents.

Labour's consumer affairs spokesman, Nigel Griffiths, called for a change in the law to allow trading standards officers and police to work with children to make "test" purchases of alcohol. The law allows children, under supervision, to buy cigarettes, adult videos and fireworks. However, it is illegal for children to buy alcohol, so test purchases can not be made, as the children would also be guilty.

Mr Griffiths said he wanted the 1988 Licensing Act to be amended. "Test purchases are an effective and proven deterrent. I cannot understand why Home Office ministers are dragging their feet," he said.