Trading Standards Officers enforce laws relating to underage sales of alcohol and cigarettes as well as other products including fireworks, knives and spray paint.
Depending on the circumstances, a person caught selling any such product illegally faces a fine, they may potentially lose a licence, and in the most extreme cases even face imprisonment.
Challenge 21 policy
We encourage retailers to operate at least a 'challenge 21 policy'. This means that if they think a customer buying an age restricted product looks under the age of 21 they should ask if they have proof of age. Some retailers go further and ask purchasers for proof of age if their customer appears under 25. We support that too.
We recommend that retailers only accept proof of age that contains the PASS hologram.
During the current Coronavirus pandemic persons entering a shop are required, unless exempted, to wear a face covering at all times. However for the purposes of checking the age of a person being sold an age restricted product it is acceptable to ask the person being challenged to temporarily remove their face coving.
We ask that customers respect retailers who ask for proof of age and comply with requests to temporarily remove face coverings, as the consequences of getting this wrong could be severe.
Minimum age limits
Below are the minimum legal age for the most common age restricted products.
|Alcohol||18 or over|
|Tobacco and nicotine inhaling products (e-cigarettes)||18 or over|
|Knives||18 or over|
|Fireworks||18 or over|
|DVD's||12, 15 or 18|
|Video games||12, 15 or 18|
|Gas lighter refills||18 or over|
|Sun beds||18 or over|
|Solvents||18 or over|
|Lottery tickets||16 or over|
|Spray paints||16 or over|
|Petrol||16 or over|