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Three shops under investigation after selling alcohol and tobacco to underaged girls

Published: Friday, 29th October 2021

Three shops in Stoke-on-Trent are being investigated today (Friday) after selling alcohol and tobacco to underaged girls as part of a trading standards operation.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council teams organised a day of test purchases at premises across the city yesterday (Thursday). They carried out daytime visits to a total of 12 shops. Nine of the premises correctly refused sales, but two underage volunteers – a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl – were able to buy alcohol from two premises and tobacco from a third, without being asked for identification. The shops in Fenton, Stoke and Tunstall have been notified and are now being investigated by trading standards officers.

Councillor Carl Edwards, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment said: “It is illegal to sell alcohol or tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. Our test purchases are done in a controlled way to check that premises are following the legal requirements that are in place to protect residents.

“This is work that we are continuing to step up after the lockdown and premises must follow the law. We take a very dim view of shops that don’t do so, and we’ll be investigating these three premises thoroughly.

“The 12 premises that we visited followed complaints we have received from residents and our own intelligence work, where our routine inspections have found that systems in place in the shops are not as good as they should be. We had previously written to all the traders to advise them that they need to have measures in place to prevent underage sales, and to tell them that we will be carrying out test purchases.

“It is pleasing that the vast majority of the premises we visited were complying with their legal obligations. It’s absolutely vital that retailers in the city have steps in place to prevent underage sales of products such as alcohol and tobacco.

“All retailers should ensure their staff are properly trained to prevent these products getting into the hands of children. We will be taking appropriate action against the retailers who failed the operation.”

To report a premises selling products to under age young people visit