June 9, 2008 2:10 PM

A top Liberal Democrat is calling for pubs and off licences caught selling alcohol to under age drinkers to have their licences immediately removed.

Newcastle North Parliamentary spokesman Ron Beadle said over 30,000 pupils have been excluded from school for drink and drug related reasons since 2005.

However, the average fine for selling alcohol to children is just £288.

"Licensees who sell drink to kids inhabit the same moral universe as drug dealers," he said.

"Labour's 'softly softly' approach to them isn't working. Many licensees are doing the right thing. But the rogues should be told that they will get no second chance.

"Northumbria Police and local councils are working hard to bring prosecutions and the local press are rightly highlighting these cases."

Mr Beadle said that the penalties available to the courts were not working.

"Until the law is changed I would encourage people to boycott businesses convicted of selling alcohol to children," he added.