IRRESPONSIBLE adults are buying crates of alcohol for children from Chester shops fuelling a drunken gang culture.
Off licences such as The Spar stores in Vicars Cross and Blacon have blacklisted adults caught red handed but are struggling to contain the problem.
'People can get intimidated by groups of 15 or 16-year-olds hanging around outside the shops who come up to you to go and buy a crate of lager,' said Paul Houghton, manager of the Western Avenue shop in Blacon.
'Even so it's amazing to me that people are still doing it. It's the biggest issue facing us retailers at the moment and it's irresponsible.'
Jeff Hulston of the Vicars Cross store adds: 'It's something that's affecting the whole city.'
Residents appealed to police for more help in tackling the scourge at this week's One Voice for Blacon meeting.
PCSO Mike Henry and Blacon's new dedicated sergeant, Brian Green, said they were working closely with the store. They scour CCTV footage at Western Avenue on a daily basis to gather evidence to bring prosecutions.
Sgt Green said: 'I've talked about putting Smartwater (traceable liquid) on boxes to help build up a chain of evidence.'
PCSO Henry said: 'We've been trying to confront people within a couple of minutes of the offence which is shocking some of them.'
But the problems continue to mount. Shop keepers in rural areas have also had to take action with Wine Rack, The Co-op and The Spar in Tarporley blacklisting customers.
Meanwhile Sgt Andy Smith has had to ban entire families in Kelsall and Tattenhall.