PUB staff and managers have been fined after they were caught selling alcohol to under-age youngsters.
Off-licences and pubs in Morpeth and Bedlington were targeted by police officers in an operation carried out to catch premises flouting the law.
Two volunteers, aged 14 and 16, attempted to buy alcohol as test purchases in several shops and bars, but only two were caught out.
In Bedlington, the youngsters were served alcohol at the Market Tavern, leading to the staff member who served them being hit with an £80 on-the-spot fine.
Management at the Market Place pub will also be fined.
The volunteers were also served alcohol at the Seen nightclub in Morpeth’s Bridge Street after being allowed to enter the premises without being challenged.
Fines were issued to staff and management at the club.
While officers were at Seen, two youths – aged 16 and 17 – were also arrested outside for being drunk and disorderly and given fixed-penalty notices.
Morpeth off-licences Best One, in Newgate Street, and Bal’s Mini Market, in Stobhill’s First Avenue, along with the Electrical Wizard pub in Morpeth’s New Market all refused to sell alcohol to the youngsters.
Inspector Dave Simpson, of Morpeth neighbourhood policing team, said: “I’m very disappointed that licensed premises continue to serve alcohol to those who are under age.
“They have a duty under the 2003 Licensing Act to prevent harm to children.
“Openly selling alcohol to children indicates that this duty is not being taken seriously.
“Some of the premises we visited, though, were thoroughly professional and refused to serve the teenagers.
“We will continue to target under-age drinking, and action like this sends a strong message out to all licensees that selling alcohol to children or allowing kids to drink will not be tolerated here in Northumberland.
“I can assure them, and the community, that we will continue to run operations like this aimed at keeping the area safe.”