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Trading Standards – keeping children safe

Published: 23/08/2019

Flintshire Trading Standards Officers want to remind shop keepers and other businesses about the importance of ensuring that products with an age restriction are only sold to age appropriate customers.

Products such as knives and alcohol require proof of age to be shown when the buyer appears to be below the age of 25. Trading Standards can provide advice on the UK “Challenge 25” scheme to any business that sells age restricted products.

Officers also ask that if anyone has concerns about this type of product being supplied to children by a business that they contact Trading Standards.  Trading Standards can then investigate their concerns to ensure that children are not being put at risk from illegal supply and use of these products.

It is important the retail staff are trained and aware of the need to challenge for proof of age where a person who appears to be under 25 wants to make a purchase.  Where proof of identification cannot be provided, the sale must be declined.

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell, said:

“A recent all-Wales Trading Standards survey suggests that across Wales illegal sales are unfortunately increasing, with 30% of retailers visited selling alcohol to children, 22% selling cigarettes and 6% selling fireworks.

“Fortunately, the levels for Flintshire were well below these national figures and I’d like to thank businesses for working in partnership with the council and other partners including the police. Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our communities and businesses across Flintshire is of the highest priority to the council and the work of our Trading Standards Officers plays a major part in this.”

Flintshire Trading Standards Officers and North Wales Police enforce jointly the law prohibiting sales of alcohol to children and work together in other areas including reduction of knife crime and the availability of knives.  During the summer, Council officers are working with police officers and young volunteers to carry out test purchases at retail premises.  So far this work has targeted alcohol and knife sellers.

In a recent test operation for alcohol sales, the eleven premises visited all challenged our young volunteer for identification and declined the sale.  Where sales are made to children these will be fully investigated and may lead to on the spot fines or prosecution for both the seller and their employer.

If you believe that underage sales are occurring at a business premises, you can report the matter to us quickly and anonymously by either contacting Consumer Direct Wales on 03454 04 05 06 or if you prefer to speak to a Welsh speaker on 03454 04 05 05.

Alternatively you can e-mail including relevant information, for example shop name, location and when the sale took place.


Apart from the legal consequences for the retailer, underage sales can have a real effect on the health and wellbeing of our children through to adulthood. Bear in mind the following statistics:

  • 450 children start smoking in Great Britain every day
  • 22% of 15 year olds are regular smokers
  • 80% of today’s smokers took up the habit as teenagers
  • On average, teenagers drink 4 pints of beer a week
  • 58% of the people injured by fireworks last year were under the legal age of purchase, of 18 years.

The following are all age restricted products:

  • Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products – Age 18
  • Fireworks – Age 18
  • Alcohol – Age 18
  • Knives and Similar Offensive Weapons – Age 18
  • Intoxicating Substances – (includes Glue – contact adhesive, Solvents etc.) - Age 18
  • Cigarette Lighter Refills – Age 18
  • Aerosol Spray Paints – Age 16
  • Videos, DVDs and Computer Games – Age appropriate as individually marked
  • Lottery Tickets – Age 16
  • Petroleum – Age 16

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