It is a disturbing fact that more and more young people are starting to smoke and consume alcohol at an earlier age. One this page you will find information about prevention of underage sales, how to become a test purchase volunteer and checking proof of age.
The role of Trading Standards
Our Trading Standards department has a duty to enforce laws designed to protect the health and well being of children and young people from harmful and damaging products.
- Solvents and butane lighter refills
- Aerosol spray paints
Preventing underage sales
If an age-restricted product is sold to an underage person, the retailer and the salesperson can be guilty of a criminal offence. This applies even if the underage person claims they are buying the item for an adult. If you are in doubt, and the person cannot provide legitimate proof of their age, our advice is to refuse to sell the goods to them.
If you sell age-restricted products you need to be fully aware of the age limits. All staff should be adequately trained and aware of your company's procedures and policies.
We have produced a detailed business guidance pack on preventing under age sales at premises called 'No Proof, No Sale'. The pack contains detailed guidance on the law related to each product, best practice mechanisms to prevent sales, training information for staff and display material for use in retail outlets.
To request a copy of the 'No Proof, No Sales' guidance pack call Trading Standards on 01495 235291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, it is available to download below:
No Proof, No Sale (PDF 147kb)
Also available in Urdu using the following link:
No Proof, No Sale (Urdu) (PDF 4.6mb)
A full list of age limits and the maximum penalties for selling age-restricted goods is on the Trading Standards Central website.
The Trading Standards Central website also has further guidance for businesses about:
Trading Standards carry out frequent test-purchasing exercises using child volunteers. Volunteers are asked to attempt to purchase a variety of age-restricted goods including alcohol, fireworks, tobacco and solvents. If you are caught selling these goods to an under-age person it may result in legal proceedings.
If you know of any shops or pubs that are selling age restricted products to persons underage please let us know about it by reporting it online or by calling 01495 235291.
Becoming a test volunteer
We are always looking for volunteers to help us with test purchasing of age-restricted products such as cigarettes, alcohol and fireworks, which take place regularly throughout the year.
Volunteers must be aged between 13 and 16½ and will receive a certificate of achievement for their assistance. Volunteers often work in pairs sometimes in the company of a friend or sibling.
Becoming a test volunteer also provides an excellent opportunity of experience to young people considering a career in 'enforcement' whether it be for the Police or another agency like Trading Standards.
It can also illustrate 'service to the community' for those involved in Duke of Edinburgh awards and similar schemes, and can be used as evidence of key skills for job applications and university entrance forms.
All volunteers are trained in what to say and do on the exercises and are supervised by an officer at all times.
If you or someone you know would like to take part in future exercises or wish to find out more about the scheme, please contact Trading Standards on email@example.com or 01495 235291.
Checking proof of age
The easiest way to stop selling to underage customers is to always ask young customers for proof of age, even if they initially appear old enough to sell to.
Police and Trading Standards recommend you only accept proof of age with both the date of birth and a photo. Validate cards are Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) accredited.
The Trading Standards Service distributes free validate cards to all year 11 pupils in the borough via their schools. If you are still in secondary education and do not have a validate card, you can obtain a card free of charge from your school.
Otherwise, you can complete an application at the following police stations: Bargoed, Bedwas, Caerphilly, Blackwood, Risca, Ystrad Mynach, Rhymney.
Other acceptable and recommended forms of ID are:
- Photo driving licence
- Other authorised proof of age cards PASS accredited cards
There are fake proof of age cards about, so if you are unhappy with any card for any reason, refuse the sale. Items such as birth certificates and national insurance cards are not recommended since they carry no photo so can be passed between friends.
You legally have the right to refuse any customer either over or under age if you are unhappy with the sale in any way.