AS THE summer holidays approach, the Isle of Wight Council has issued a warning to businesses about the consequences of selling alcohol to underage customers.
Shop owners who sell alcohol to underage customers could be fined up to £20,000 as well as lose their licence, the council warned.
Individuals who buy alcohol for under 18s is also a criminal offence and carries a fine up to £5,000 even if it is for a friend or relative, a spokesman added.
The warning from trading standards has been backed by a business owner who was fined and had his licence suspended in 2011.
He said: "We do our best not to sell alcohol to young people and our policy is to ask for proof of age if you look under 25. We provide regular training for staff, however on one occasion we made a mistake and were correctly punished.
"Not only was the member of staff fined, we lost significant trade as we were banned from selling alcohol during a busy period. We also suffered the embarrassment of telling regular customers that we could not sell them any wines or beers and many of our customers went elsewhere to buy all the other things they wanted too.
"My message to anyone underage who is thinking of buying alcohol is think about the consequences, not only for you but for the shop as well. The staff member may face a heavy fine or lose their job, you will be breaking the law and there is the possibility that the store might one day lose its licence and have to close."