The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, about her comments blaming ’dodgy off licences’ for under-age drinking problems.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, explained: "The c-store sector has worked very hard to prevent young people buying alcohol illegally. The Home Secretary’s comments will be considered offensive by the thousands of responsible retailers who work on the frontline of preventing under-age drinking."

He added that the problem would not be solved by sanctions against retailers alone.