18 April 2018

A  Kettering business and one of its directors has been fined almost £2,000 after pleading guilty to selling cigarettes to someone who was underage.

Following a test purchase operation by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards, Abington Supermarkets Limited and Sohan Lal, 68, appeared before Northampton Magistrates.

Both the company and Lal of Eastfield Avenue, Wellingborough, admitted selling a packet of 20 cigarettes to a 16-year-old in August 2017, without asking for valid proof of age at the Euro Discount store in Lindsay Street, Kettering.

Abington Supermarkets Ltd, was fined £1,000, while Lal, as a director, was ordered to pay £100. Costs of £789 and a victim surcharge of £100 were also ordered to be paid.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said:

 

“This case demonstrates that our Trading Standards team will not hesitate to take action if they suspect a business of selling age-restricted products to children, and we will continue to carry out checks and test purchases whenever we receive complaints and intelligence about underage sales.

“Both businesses and the individual seller can be prosecuted for selling and it’s essential that they must ask for valid proof of age from young people.

“We recommend that they at least challenge anyone who looks under 21, and we are aware that many shops challenge anyone who looks under 25.”

The business did not have systems in place to ask for valid proof of age and  was not operating a refusals register.

It was heard in court that they had previously, in October 2016, failed to ask for proof of age on an earlier test purchase and had only asked the child’s age.

Members of the public who have information about the sale of age restricted products to children should call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or visit their website.

Any business that would like further advice can contact Northamptonshire Trading Standards.