Business prosecuted for underage tobacco sales
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Peter and Janet Long of World of Card and News, Regent Street, Kingswood pleaded guilty to the offence when they appeared before North Avon Magistrates on Monday 11 February.
During a routine test purchase exercise carried out on August 18 last year, two teenagers aged 16 and 17 were able to buy hand rolling tobacco products and cigarette papers without being challenged or asked for identification. The owners received a 12 month conditional discharge and have been ordered to pay joint costs of £750.
It is an offence under the Children & Young Persons Act 1933 for any person to sell tobacco or cigarette papers to a person under the age of 18 years. The maximum penalty is a fine of up to £2,500.
Trading Standards had already visited the business and advised the owners on more than one occasion about the adequate training of staff members and the importance of having a suitable system in place to prevent the sale of age restricted products to minors.
The court heard that since the incident, Mr and Mrs Long have made significant improvements to their training system, implementing written training records and putting a ‘Challenge 21’ policy into operation.
Strong, Safer Communities Manager Mark Pullin said: “Businesses must do all they can to ensure that underage sales of tobacco are restricted. Unfortunately, this business initially failed to take on board the advice offered by Trading Standards leaving us with no option but to take formal action. However, I am encouraged by the measures they have introduced to ensure that this does not happen again. I would like to take this opportunity to praise the many diligent businesses who ensure their staff are adequately trained and comply with the law.”
Cllr Claire Young, Chair of the Communities Committee, said: “The health of our young people is of great importance to South Gloucestershire Council and we will continue to carry out test purchase operations across the district to ensure full compliance with the law.”
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