In Brief

Scottish shops ban under-21s

Three towns in Scotland have banned the sale of alcohol to under-21s as part of a six-week trial to reduce antisocial behaviour. All 11 off-licences in Armadale, West Lothian, have agreed to not sell to under-21s on Fridays and Saturdays between the 5pm and 10pm. The two neighbouring towns of Larbert and Stenhousemuir also have adopted

the scheme, with 13 off-licences not selling to anyone under 21. "It's too

early to say if this project will be

rolled out across other areas in West Lothian, but we will record and assess

the results of this pilot project and consider the options," councillor

Isabel Hutton said.

Perfect test purchase results

Retailers in south Gloucestershire have been praised after a joint police and Trading Standards test-purchasing operation found none of them were prepared to sell alcohol to under-18s. On March 15 between 2pm and 10pm, under-age volunteers went into 18 off-licences, supermarkets and convenience stores in Downend, Emersons Green, Hanham, Kingswood, Longwell Green, Mangotsfield, Staple Hill and Warmley. Neighbourhood PC Louise Dembicki said: "We were delighted to find that all the shop staff had heeded our warnings and refused to sell alcohol to our test purchasers."

Birmingham robber sought

Police are hunting a man who stole cash and cigarettes from an off-licence in Birmingham after threatening staff with a knife. The incident happened on March 17 at Threshers in Station Road, Wythall. The man is described as white, 6ft tall, of large build, in his early 20s and had a local accent. He was wearing a black hoody and his was face covered with a black scarf.

Raising the alarm - by radio

Off-licences in Manchester have set up a network to crack down on under-age drinking. Sixteen shops in Moston and Harpurhey will be linked by radio so owners can raise the alarm if teenagers try to buy alcohol or cause trouble. It is hoped the scheme will also crack down

on adults who are trying to buy alcohol on behalf of children. Carrier bags with the slogan "minor favour, major fine"

will be handed out to customers.

Yorkshire antenatal campaign

Pregnant women in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, are being warned about the dangers of drinking. Posters have been put up in off-licences, pubs and clubs in the area as part of a £500 campaign by the Dewsbury area committee. In addition, stickers with a warning logo have been put on bottles of alcohol. Councillor Paul Kane said: "We are taking it extremely seriously, but trying to coerce people, not be punitive. We are not nannying people into it, just raising awareness. We are trying to get people

to think about their activities when they're pregnant."