July 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 16, 2014
Two town centre off-licences were caught selling alcohol and tobacco to under-age customers in the run-up to England’s World Cup match on Saturday.
In a plan executed by Suffolk Trading Standards, volunteers under the age of 18 were asked to try and buy items they were not old enough to purchase at five stores in Ipswich on Friday evening.
And at two of those premises staff sold the goods to the children without asking for any proof of age.
The under-age sales test was a multi-agency operation based on information passed to the Trading Standards team.
The volunteers, usually aged between 15 and 17, are used to test the procedure for selling age-restricted products at pubs, clubs, bars, supermarkets and off-licences.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said once a shop has sold either tobacco or alcohol to one of the under-age volunteers, the Trading Standards team and a police officer produce an on-the-spot fine and holds an interview under caution.
He added that if the owner is present this interview will take place later more formally. A full investigation will then be carried out.
On the same night Trading Standards officers were also called to another premises in the town which has previously been visited as part of investigations into trading of illicit tobacco.
Here they found 246 packs of 20 cigarettes and 1.050 kilogrammes of rolling tobacco, both illegal, hidden under a counter. The goods were seized pending an investigation.
Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said: “These black market traders cause major problems for legitimate retailers having to compete with so-called bargain prices.
“Some of the products sold are untested and produced in an environment that is often unsafe and unregulated.
“Those selling illicit products often have no regard to who they sell to, which can include children.
“Taking these products out of circulation is a positive step for consumers.”