// News

Newsagent fined for under-age sales

03 April 2012

A national chain of newsagents has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 after an employee served an under-age customer with cigarettes.

Martin McColl Ltd, based in Brentwood, Essex pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court to the offence, committed at its Wigston Branch on July 28th last year.

Sonal Popat, for Leicestershire county council, said a test purchase was carried out using a volunteer 15-year-old girl, who was sold a packet of cigarettes without being asked for proof of her age. Mrs Popat said a member of staff had been transferred from another shop and it appeared both managers assumed he had been trained by others. She said:

It is clear the company is failing to provide adequate training.

When interviewed, the member of staff said he had been told to go into the shop on his day off and was under pressure, the court heard.

Mrs Popat said the company had been caught by the council twice selling cigarettes to children, in 2008 at other branches in Leicestershire. On both occasions, warning letters had been issued. "They were asked to review their procedure" she said.

Mrs Popat said Martin McColl ltd had 1,250 stores throughout England, Scotland and Wales, including 10 in the Leicestershire area.

The company, through its legal representative Richard Orridge, said the incident should not have happened and the employee responsible seemed to have slipped through the net. He confirmed the county council had written to the firm and made recommendations. He said:

Due diligence systems are in order and is reviewed on a regular basis.

Source: Leicester Mercury, Leicestershire, 31 March 2012

Andrew Chevis, Chief Executive at CitizenCard said that:

Retailers must be vigilant and ensure that young customers are asked for proof of age, a FREE 'No ID, No Sale!' pack is available to all retailers.

To order a 'No ID, No Sale!' pack you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit noidnosale.com