The Government is considering plans that would bring alcohol sales in line with those of cigarettes by introducing new "alcohol-only" checkouts in supermarkets.
The dedicated areas, which would be manned by specially-trained staff, would be aimed at deterring shoppers from buying excessive amounts of alcohol where they can be easily seen by fellow customers.
Ministers also hope the plan, part of a draft code of practice on how to clamp down on British drinking drawn up by the Home Office and the Department of Health, would help prevent underage drinkers from buying alcohol.
A Government source was reported in the Daily Mail as saying: "Having separate areas to sell alcohol will help us tackle this growing problem of young people getting tanked up on cheap supermarket beers and lagers.
"We would also want to see specially-trained staff in these areas to make sure alcohol is not being bought by people who are underage."
The move is likely to hit a number of hitches, with retailers bound to be unhappy at paying for store refits and staff training, and customers being unwilling to queue twice for their weekly shop.
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