Supermarkets have come under fire from the Home Office for selling alcohol next to sweets and school uniforms.

Sainsbury’s was selling spirits next to chocolate snowmen and other sweets, Lidl sold Jaffa cakes at its BWS aisle and Tesco was selling spirits next to school uniforms – and they were accused of cynically targeting parents. 

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat crime prevention minister at the coalition government, said: “‘ndustry needs to raise its game and do much more to help reduce problem drinking, and supermarkets have to recognise they have a significant part to play in this.

“They need to promote and display alcohol more responsibly, do their bit to improve public awareness of the dangers of drink and support local areas in tackling alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder.”

Tesco said: “Alcohol should not be next to school uniforms or any other products for children in our stores. We are looking into what happened in this store.”

Sainsbury’s said: “We take the sale of age-restricted products very seriously. Anyone working on a checkout is trained to ask customers who look under 25 for ID before selling them alcohol.”

Lidl said: “We take our role as a responsible retailer, and all matters of sales of age-restricted products, extremely seriously and will take any comments about the merchandising of our products on board.”

But Tom Smith, youth policy manager at Alcohol Concern, said: “Retailers have got to start taking this seriously and stop selling alcohol alongside everyday products such as children’s sweets and school uniforms. 

“Selling booze like this drives impulse buying and serves only to normalise the role of alcohol in society.

“The reality is that we’re facing historically high levels of health problems caused by alcohol misuse. If we’re to develop a culture of more responsible drinking, retailers have to play their part.”