Age restricted products

It is a disturbing fact that more and more young people are starting to smoke and consume alcohol at an earlier age. 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.

These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Solvents and butane lighter refills
  • Fireworks
  • Aerosol spray paints
  • Knives
  • Videos/DVDs
  • Petrol

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. You can contact us to request a copy or alternatively, it is available to download.

No Proof, No Sale (PDF 147kb)

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 Business Companion website.

Test-purchase exercises

We regularly carry out 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 contacting us.

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. Visit underage sales volunteering section for details.

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:

  • Passport
  • 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.

Contact us