Smoking out underage teen

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RETAILERS in Knowsley refused to sell tobacco to an underage youngster during a Trading Standards sting.

Watchdogs conducted a test-purchasing exercise across the borough last week, in which a 15-year-old volunteer was challenged to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The youngster visited 16 newsagents, off licences and convenience stores - including some in Prescot - but, in every case, the retailers refused to sell to the boy.

Coun Ken Keith, Knowsley Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: “It is extremely pleasing to see every single retailer refuse to make a sale in this test purchase exercise.

“Our Trading Standards team works closely with retailers across the borough to make them aware of the law and their responsibilities and it is satisfying to see that they are taking those messages on board.

“We will continue to carry out exercises like this and offer advice and guidance to retailers, taking appropriate enforcement action if they are not fulfilling their responsibilities.”

Just last month Trading Standards chiefs in St Helens announced the results of a similar sting operation in relation to the sale of 18-rated DVDs and computer games.

On that occasion, half of the local retailers tested sold the adult material to undeage buyers without asking for proof of ID.

A recent law change makes it an offence to sell Pan European Games Information (PEGI) classified computer games to people below the age displayed on case, in line with DVD films.