Sutton shopkeeper fined £300 after selling cigarettes to teenage boy

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A Sutton shopkeeper has been fined £300 for selling cigarettes to a 15-year-old boy under in July.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards carried out a test purchasing operation at the Ashfield Store on Stoney Street, which involved a young volunteer.

Tak Kin Lai (49), of the same address, allowed the volunteer to buy a packet of cigarettes without identification.

He pleaded guilty to the offence at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Wednesday (24th October).

It is against the law for a shop to sell cigarettes and alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.

Shops are encouraged to refuse to sell to people who they believe to be under 18 and who cannot provide photo identification, such as a driving license, passport or Proof of Age Standards Scheme approved card. Retailers are urged to always ask for identification if there is even the slightest doubt about the age of a customer.

Trading Standards promotes the use of Challenge 25 schemes for all retailers which allow them to easily check proof of age and they can help shops to set up systems designed to prevent underage sales.

Members of the public are being encouraged to report any retailers they know are selling cigarettes, alcohol or other age restricted products to under-18s.

Coun Mick Murphy, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s community safety committee, said, “There is an 18 years-of-age restriction that applies to the sale of tobacco so the shopkeeper should have flatly refused to serve the 15-year-old boy involved in this exercise.

“We need to protect young people from the health risks associated with smoking so it was reckless of the shopkeeper to sell cigarettes to someone under 18.”

Retailers interested in finding out more about what they can do to discourage underage sales can find out more about the support available at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or by calling 01623 425005.

People who believe a shop in their area is selling cigarettes or alcohol to under-18s should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.