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Four shops caught selling tobacco products to children
Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to four Aberdeen shopkeepers caught selling tobacco products to children including one who was caught committing the offence for the third time.
During a two day operation Trading Standards officers visited 20 premises, including 10 where it was suspected that tobacco and tobacco related products were being sold to young people.
Under the supervision of Trading Standards staff, a 16-year-old volunteer test purchaser attempted to make a purchase in each of the shops. She was sold three packets of ten cigarettes and one sale of cigarette papers. All of the sales were made from the 10 shops suspected of selling cigarettes and cigarette products to under-18s. During these sales no challenges were made to the volunteer in regard to her age nor did anyone ask her for ID.
It is a criminal offence under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 to sell tobacco to person under the age of 18. As an alternative to reporting the matter to the Procurator Fiscal, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £200 can be issued by Trading Standards. The FPN increases incrementally by £200 for each subsequent sale. One of the shop owners who sold cigarettes during this campaign received a fixed penalty of £600 as this was the third occasion they had sold cigarettes to a 16 year old.
Trading Standards team leader Graeme Paton said: "I'm very pleased that the majority of retailers in the city are complying with the legislation in relation to the sale of tobacco.
"Most businesses which have sold tobacco products to children learn from their mistakes and don't sell a second time. However, there is a small minority of shop owners who either can't be bothered training their staff or adapting their systems to prevent sales, or who simply don't care who they sell to. We will continue to target these businesses until they do."
He added: "Most adult smokers begin smoking before they are 18. Anyone who sells cigarettes to children over the counter without challenging them about their age is not only acting illegally, but incredibly irresponsibly as well."
Anyone concerned about a business selling age-restricted products to children is asked to inform Trading standards by calling 01224 523737. If you want to remain anonymous call 01224 522433 and leave a message with as much information as you can about the premises you have concerns about.