Merton Council

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Underage sales

Alcohol on sale in shop

Some products can only be sold to persons of a certain age. This means they are "age restricted" and should not be sold to underage persons. This helps to prevent anti-social behaviour, minimises risks to health and improves the safety of the community. We work with the police to combat the illegal sale of age restricted products (such as alcohol, tobacco and knives) to young people.

What products are age restricted?

PRODUCT AGE MAXIMUM PENALTY
Alcohol 18 and over £5,000 & forfeit of licence
Tobacco products 18 and over £2,500
Offensive weapons/knives 18 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Crossbows 18 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Fireworks and sparklers 18 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Lighter refills containing butane 18 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Caps, cracker snaps, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents and throw-downs 16 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Lottery tickets/Instant Win cards 16 and over £5,000 & up to 2 years imprisonment
Aerosol paint 16 and over £2,500
Videos, video and computer games: Classification 18 18 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Videos, video and computer games: Classification 15 15 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment
Videos, video and computer games: Classification 12 12 and over £5,000 & up to 6 months imprisonment

Reporting age restricted sales

If you believe a trader in Merton is supplying any of the above items to underage persons please let us know by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

What happens next

We will investigate the matter and take appropriate action if we find a problem. Businesses selling age restricted products could be fined or imprisoned if they are successfully prosecuted - the maximum penalties are listed in the above table. Traders selling alcohol may have their licences reviewed or revoked.

Prevention

We liaise with the police and Safer Merton to monitor the type of products being sold and to devise strategies on dealing with problem traders.

We conduct test purchasing exercises to check that businesses are obeying the law. Young people under the permitted age are sent into shops to request an age-restricted item. This method tests the procedures that traders have in place and helps us pinpoint problems and take the appropriate corrective action.

Training

We offer the "Do you PASS" training course on age restricted sales. This is suitable for managers and staff. There is a short test at the end of the course and successful candidates are awarded the do you PASS? Fair Trading Award module. Businesses interested in attending future training courses should contact the trading standards team on 020 8545 4018 or email trading.standards@merton.gov.uk.

Business advice

We also educate traders and update them regularly on changes to legislation and methods they can adopt to ensure they do not sell to underage people. We can supply point of sale material such as posters and refusals books. If you are a Merton business and want advice on this or other fair trading and consumer matters please contact us at trading.standards@merton.gov.uk. You can also visit the Business Companion website which covers all major Trading Standards legislation.

For comprehensive and up to date guidance on how to deal with customer complaints, refunds and returns visit the Sale of Goods Act (SOGA) hub website. All the training and promotional materials provided are available to access online or to download in a variety of formats.

Contact us

Trading Standards
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

Email: trading.standards@merton.gov.uk
Tel: 020 8545 4018

Consumer Advice

The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

This page was last updated on Thursday 19 November 2015

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