Alcohol, cigarettes and fireworks have been sold to children aged 15 and 16 from shops in West Sussex.
The joint investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards and Sussex Police found that more than a third of traders tested sold age restricted products to children.
In some cases no questions at all were asked of the volunteer buyers, let alone requesting proof of age. It is illegal to sell these products to those under 18 and Trading Standards supports the ‘Think 25’ policy – which encourages traders to ask for ID from anyone who looks under that age.
Christine Field, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “What is an especially worrying development is the sale of fireworks to our volunteers. In the past this has proved very rare. However, in this exercise two shops sold both fireworks and cigarettes to the volunteer in the same purchase.”
Trading Standards investigations are continuing, but sanctions may include prosecution, loss of alcohol licence and refusal to stock and sell fireworks in the future.