Age-restricted products, including cigarettes and alcohol, were sold to children in almost a quarter of businesses visited by trading standards officers in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.
Dozens of visits were made in July and August due to complaints/inquiries received by Trading Standards, with almost one in four allowing members of Cambridgeshire Police Cadets to purchase a product subject to a limit of age .
Action against such premises will now be taken in accordance with Trading Standards Enforcement Policy, which may range from a written warning, a caution if they admit the offense or prosecution.
In addition to the police, Trading Standards has been supported by colleagues from Fenland District Council, Cambridge City Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and of Peterborough City Council, with premises visited in all of these areas.
Peter Gell, Deputy Director of Regulatory Services at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: ‘We take the sale of age-restricted products incredibly seriously because of the associated health risks.
“As these visits show, we will not hesitate to take action if we receive information about premises breaking the law and we urge anyone with concerns to report them to Citizens Advice so that we can investigate.”
Paul Hawkins, licensing officer at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: ‘These operations are carried out on a regular basis to ensure that premises comply with the law on the sale of age-restricted items, however, this recent activity has was driven by some reported concerns about alcohol, cigarettes and vape sales to young people.
“Having participated in these recent operations, I would like to thank our cadets who did a brilliant job. We are happy to say that most establishments have passed the test and have refused our cadets the sale of age restricted products. However, there is still work to be done and we encourage anyone with concerns to report them to Citizens Advice.