Games store cleared of underage selling

TRADING standards officers have cleared a Felixstowe store of breaking the law after investigating claims that it sold adult computer games to underage children.

By Georgina James

TRADING standards officers have cleared a Felixstowe store of breaking the law after investigating claims that it sold adult computer games to underage children.

Play and Exchange in Eastern Square was accused of illegally selling two PlayStation games, with a 15 and 18 certificate rating, to two 11-year-old boys.

Spencer Jacobs and Toby Colthorpe were sold the computer games, which showed characters chopping each other up and killing one another.

But having spoken to the owner of the shop at great length and investigated the complaint Trading Standards officers are satisfied that no infringement of the law occurred – and have exonerated its owner Carol Johnson of any wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Trading Standards said: "The game in question, X Squad, bore a label with the word ELSPA on it together with a number of age categories with a tick by the applicable one.

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"This indication is not a statutory requirement but an industry recommendation. There is no infringement of criminal law if this recommendation is not adhered to."

The ELSPA markings were advisory only and the only games required by law to be classified bear the relevant age restriction contained in a red circle.

It is simply games that depict violence or sexual activity with human figures that are caught by the provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1894.

Trading Standards continued: "The game in question did not bear the statutory age-restricted pictogram and therefore the retailer did not make an illegal sale, irrespective of whether it was the mother or son who were supplied."

Mrs Johnson said she was sure she had never at any stage done anything wrong and had found the allegations very upsetting.

"The allegations were complete and total rubbish. We knew we had done nothing wrong in selling these games, whether it was to the mother or son," she said.

"Even though I am a small independent shop, I do not do anything different to what a multi-national store would do and I abide by the rules at all times and follow the same guidelines as everyone else."

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