Traders praised for 100% pass rate in challenging underage customers

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TRADERS have been praised for doing their bit in the community after 100 per cent of them passed tests on what items can be sold to young people.

Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards has been supporting businesses to help them prevent underage sales as part of its commitment to encourage enterprise and safeguard the community.

There were 31 shops visited during October half term by Trading Standards using 15 to 16 year old volunteers to see if the traders would sell alcohol, cigarettes or fireworks. All the stores correctly asked the volunteers for ID.

The stores ranged in size from small independent retailers to chain supermarkets. Trading Standards carry out test purchasing such as this to ensure stores are following the advice they are given to comply with the law as well as following up on concerns raised by the public and other agencies.

As part of ongoing support to businesses, Trading Standards had previously worked with the shops to help them prevent underage sales by providing training on the recommended ‘Challenge 25’ policy. If a customer looks under 25 they’ll be asked for ID to prove their age. The scheme is now commonplace for most retailers and the red and black posters informing customers are a familiar sight in many shops.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mathew Shuter, Cabinet Member for Enterprise said: “This is a great result and shows that shops in Cambridgeshire have taken their responsibility to prevent underage sales in their community seriously and we hope that this good practice continues. Trading Standards prefers to work with stores to make sure they have the right training and understanding of the law as part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s commitment to encourage business and the local economy.

“The test purchases are part of our ongoing commitment to protect the health and wellbeing of youngsters within the county.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Challenge 25 policy or Cambridgeshire Trading Standards can visit the website www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk.