Three Invercargill liquor stores have been caught red-handed in a police sting, with two duty managers selling alcohol to a minor.
In the latest "controlled purchase operation" on Friday night, the third such undercover operation in the region in a year, a 16-year-old was sent into nine liquor outlets, said Sergeant John Harris, the officer in charge of the alcohol harm reduction unit.
"The premises that sold were Barluca in Dee Street, East End Bottle Store in Tay Street and Southland Super Liquor in Elles Road. In two of the cases it was the duty manager who made the sale."
As far as police were concerned, a successful operation was when all the stores sent the underage person away empty-handed.
"This result is awful. This country is presently going through reforms to the Sale of Liquor Act and yet with all the publicity surrounding this issue we still have outlets that are prepared to sell to underagers.
"There is no excuse. He should have been ejected from every premise."
Last September in Southland, nine out of 16 premises were caught selling alcohol to a minor, and in May this year, four out of nine outlets were caught.
"You can be assured that these joint operations will continue," Sgt Harris said.