Newsagent fined for selling cigarettes to children again

Published: Wednesday 23rd October 13

A Wandsworth newsagent has been fined by magistrates after being caught selling cigarettes to children for the second time in a year.

Staff at Garratt Lane Newsagents Ltd sold cigarettes to a 14-year-old boy despite being caught committing the same offence in March 2012. On that occasion they had allowed a 16-year-old girl to buy cigarettes in their shop.

It has been illegal to sell cigarettes to young people under the age of 18 since October 2007.

After that first breach of the law the shop’s owner Farida Rajwani was given a formal warning and offered advice on how to comply with the law. Trading standards officers also offered to give Mrs Rajwani and her staff training so that they wouldn’t make the same mistake again. However she declined this offer.

As a result, trading standards officers returned to the shop with a specially trained 14-year-old to make sure it was sticking to the rules.

Unfortunately the child was able to purchase cigarettes without being challenged in any way. He was not asked for his age or for any form of ID despite the fact that he had been chosen to carry out the test purchase because he didn’t look anywhere near as old as 18.

As a result, Mrs Rajwani’s company was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £1,110 plus a £100 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to one offence of selling to a minor.

Wandsworth's trading standards spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook, said: "The law on the sale of tobacco products is very clear. It is illegal to sell them to anyone under 18.

"It is vital that harmful products like cigarettes and alcohol do not get into the hands of children. Unfortunately there will always be some shopkeepers who flout the law, which is why our trading standards team conduct regular operations like this.

"Any trader we catch selling these kinds of products to children should be under no illusion about the legal sanctions they will face."

Houda Al-Sharifi, director of public health for Wandsworth added: “The law is in place because it is important that society does all it can to limit the availability of tobacco to young people.

“Smoking is extremely harmful to a person’s health and the earlier people start smoking the greater the health risks they will face throughout their lives. We wholeheartedly support these efforts to prevent the sale of tobacco to children.”

As well as tobacco it is illegal for a shop to sell alcohol, fireworks, knives and solvents to anyone under the age of 18. Anyone buying an aerosol paint spray must be at least 16-years-old.

Anyone with information or concerns about items being unlawfully sold to children should call trading standards on (020) 8871 7720 or email tradingstandards@wandsworth.gov.uk

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