The latest government campaign against underage sales will be launched across England and Wales from the beginning of May, with police forces told to target 20 licensed premises within their area. The sting operations, which will last for a 10-week period, will make use of the new stricter rules which are due to come into force under the Violent Crime Reductions Act on 6 April. Pubs and bars found guilty of repeated underage sales could be made to suspend alcohol sales for three months or face a £10,000 fine. Graeme Cushion, licensing lawyer for Popplestone Allen, said: “I understand that each Crime Reduction Unit will be asked to target 20 premises within their area and seek to visit them a minimum of three times within a ten week period from the beginning of May. This is the period during which the funding for the police force will last. “If the first two visits prove unsuccessful then they will still carry out a third visit. If that visit results in a sale being made then they will visit twice more before the end of the ten week period in an attempt to secure three in three months.” Cushion, who expects the premises targeted to be ones that have a history of underage sales, said: “Whilst there appears to be no defence whatsoever to this new offence the importance of due diligence cannot be underestimated both as a preventive measure or use in mitigation should the worst come to the worst. “Magistrates will obviously view premises very differently if the licence holder can demonstrate that they have put rigorous systems in place to make sure that training is carried out and that any refusals of service are recorded. A lower level of penalty would surely be imposed and the likelihood of the suspension of alcohol would equally be reduced.”