Age restricted sales awareness – Would your business pass ‘The Challenge?’


In the past two years Plymouth City Council’s Trading Standards team has conducted over 60 test purchase visits where underage volunteers accompanied by our officers have attempted to buy age restricted products in the City.

Where businesses fail this type of test purchase and sell age restricted products, they could be prosecuted and handed a large fine.  Members of staff who sell in breach of the law can also be handed a fixed penalty which they may have to pay themselves.

The Council is asking businesses to consider ‘Is your business up to the challenge?’ Do you have an age restricted sales policy in place?

If your business is within Plymouth you can take advantage of free Trading Standards Approved training for you and your staff on how to comply with the law covering underage sales.  The free toolkit, “No Proof of Age No Sale” is online, easy to use, and can be customised for your business whether you are a small shop, a pub or restaurant, or a chain with multiple branches.  It provides training materials for managers and staff, online tests to show that staff have the required level of knowledge, and it keeps records of the training.

The online training applies to the usual age restricted products such as alcohol and tobacco, but the training also covers topics that might not be so obvious such as sales of video-games, knives and pets, and services like tattooing and tanning where the law gives a minimum age for purchase.

The toolkit makes it easy for businesses to operate an age challenge scheme – ‘Challenge 25’. Businesses can ensure they know what the age restrictions are for the different categories of products, and train staff on all the aspects of age restricted sales and produce records to prove that they have met the required standards.  It can be used by licensees to fulfil one of the requirements under the Licensing Act 2003 in relation to the protection of children from harm.

Alex Fry, Trading Standards Manager for Plymouth City Council, said “Good quality training for you and your staff on age restricted products will help to ensure that your business complies with its legal obligations, and helps staff to have confidence in asking customers to prove their entitlement to purchase restricted goods.  It is available free to Plymouth business so I would urge them to take up the offer.”

Protect your business and make sure that your staff have the best level of training by signing up at www.npoans.org and take advantage of the online toolkit, No Proof of Age No Sale today. You can also search #npoans on Twitter to find out more about the campaign.

Notes to editors:

  1. The requirements that cover the age restrictions are contained in a variety of different legislation depending on the type of product. The main provisions are:

Children and Young Persons Act 1933

Video Recordings Act 1984

Criminal Justice Act 1988

Children and Young Persons (Protection From Tobacco) Act 1991

National Lottery etc Act 1993

National Lottery Regulations 1994

Offensive Weapons Act 1996

Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999

Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003

Licensing Act 2003

Fireworks Regulations 2004

Gambling Act 2005

Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015

  1. Penalties for those found guilty of offences range from fixed penalty notices of £80 to unlimited fines and a prison sentence
  2. Responsibility for ensuring that businesses are monitored to assess compliance is shared between the trading standards and licensing sections of the Public Protection Service.
  3. Information on underage sales is available from https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/tradingstandards/underagesales
  4. For further information contact Michelle Beer on 01752 307246

Further information is available to anyone wanting to sign up to the training at www.npoans.org