// News

Warning to Retailers selling age restricted products

13 April 2012

Shopkeepers in Sandwell are being warned they face test purchases over the next year in a bid to clamp down on sales of cigarettes and alcohol to young people.

The warning has come from the borough's trading standards manager Bob Charnley.

And shopkeepers are being warned that if they flout the law they face prosecution.

Trading standards is at the front line of preventing sales of alcohol and cigarettes to children and young people under the age of 18.

The service gives advice and guidance to retailers on how to avoid making underage sales and takes legal action against those who are blatantly negligent or who persistently break the law.

Council trading standards officers will be carrying out test purchases using underage volunteers to check that retailers are complying with the law.

Between April 2011 and March 2012, 137 premises were test purchased for alcohol with 37 being caught selling illegally to children.

During this same period, six out of 73 premises tested sold cigarettes illegally to children.

Mark Beesley, area trading standards officer, said:

I'm delighted that the majority of retailers refused to sell to the young volunteers who were attempting to buy age restricted products.

However, I am disappointed to see that a minority of retailers still sold age restricted products to young people. The issue of underage sales in Sandwell is a high priority for us and our partners, as illegal sales of alcohol and tobacco to youngsters are not acceptable.

We work hard with the trade, through advisory visits, to make sure that retailers understand their responsibilities and are aware of the consequences if they do sell.

The 43 premises found selling age restricted products to under 18s faced sanctions for the breaches. These included the issuing of £80 fixed penalty notices, cautions and prosecutions.

The 37 shops found selling alcohol to minors also faced a review of their licence leading to stricter licensing conditions imposed. Two of the shops even had their licence suspended, one for 28 days and the other for 14 days.

Mr Beesley added:

The consequences for selling age restricted products to children can be severe, with the seller and shop owner facing prosecution.

With regards to the sale of alcohol to a minor, the licence holder also faces the prospect of having their licence reviewed and the possibility they may have their licence revoked.

Source: Sandwell Council Published, 12 April 2012

Andrew Chevis CitizenCard Chief Executive said:

Those who sell age restricted products must be vigiliant and ensure that young customers are asked for proof of age.

Retailers can order a 'No ID, No Sale!' pack at noidnosale.com