A string of conditions has been added to the premises licence of a city centre Tesco after it was caught selling alcohol to youngsters.
The Tesco Metro in Durham city’s Market Place twice sold alcohol to a 16-year-old girl working undercover for the police.
On one occasion, the cashier asked for ID and when the teen replied she did not have any, the woman said: “I’ll pretend I have seen it.”
Despite operating a Challenge 25 scheme, cigarettes were also sold to a 17-year-old boy with no questions asked.
A meeting at County Hall in Durham also heard yesterday the supermarket giant’s self service tills had been left on a setting which meant there were no checks on a customer’s age.
Durham Police asked for a review of the supermarket’s licence after the operation and had the support of Durham’s Safeguarding Children Board.
Now Durham County Council’s licensing committee has agreed conditions to keep the supermarket in check.
It has asked Tesco to operate the Think 25 policy, which asks cashiers to ask for ID if the customer looks under 25 and to train all members of staff in this area.
The supermarket must now have a minimum of three licensees in store - it was previously just one.
There will be 12 independent test purchases carried out at the store by Serve Legal and the results must be shared with the police.
It also emerged at the meeting that the cashier who served the 16-year-old and shrugged off the lack of ID was sacked.
Sergeant Tim Robson told the committee: “She has been dismissed. It was totally and wholly unsatisfactory behaviour from one of their employees and Durham Constabulary would not tolerate that behaviour either.”
The committee also agreed it would share concerns it had about the self service tills with other authorities in a bid to make sure the unchecked sale of alcohol was not happening elsewhere.
Tesco spokesman in the region Mark Thomas said the supermarket is pleased to have come to an agreement with the authorities.
He said: “We take our responsibilities in the sales of alcohol extremely seriously and our colleagues rigorously challenge customers purchasing alcohol who appear under 25 years of age. We will continue to work positively with the police.”
He added: “We thank the committee for their decision and will continue to work constructively with the police on this issue.”
Durham’s police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg said the move shows how serious Durham Police is about tackling underage drinking in the university city and throughout the county.
He said: “Tackling the harm caused to individuals and communities by alcohol is one of the top policing priorities voted for by members of the public during my consultation.
“I hope that this sends out a clear message that licensing laws need to be adhered to in order to minimise underage drinking and protect young people from harm.”