Another store caught out by under-age sales sting

SEVEN out of eight premises visited by Thurrock Council’s trading standards team on Thursday (31 October) refused to sell alcohol to underage people.

The latest of the team’s sweeps to ensure shopkeepers follow the law in sales of cigarettes and alcohol was carried out during the half term holidays in Grays, Stanford-le-Hope and South Ockendon.

Underage volunteers, accompanied by officers from the council, visited eight off-licences and newsagents in an attempt to buy alcohol and cigarettes.

Although most refused to sell without being shown valid identification, one of the stores tested sold a bottle of wine to a 15-year-old volunteer.

Shortly afterwards the same store sold a pack of cigarettes to another 15-year-old volunteer.

The matter is now being investigated and formal action will be considered.

Thurrock Council portfolio holder for public protection Cllr Angie Gaywood said: “Some products are restricted for sale for very good reasons. For example the sale of alcohol can not only lead to anti-social behaviour, but it also makes young people even more vulnerable to danger.”

And she added: “I’m pleased to see the council’s licensing sub-committee has been taking a hard line when these incidents come before it.”

Underage sales of restricted items can be reported anonymously online by visiting the council’s new-look website (thurrock.gov.uk) and using the search option for “underage sales”.

As well as alcohol and cigarettes, age-restricted products also include fireworks, knives, sunbeds, DVDs and video games.

The council’s trading standards offers a training course for licence holders and shopkeepers around age-restricted sales called Do You PASS?. For information on the next available training course telephone 01375 652955.

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