Action on underage booze and cigs sales

COUNCILLORS are being asked to approve an enforcement plan setting out how underage sales will be tackled in the next 12 months.

The plan covers the sale of age-restricted products, including tobacco, alcohol, solvents, fireworks, spray paint, knives, DVDs, cigarette lighter refills and access to gambling premises and the use of sunbeds by those under the legal age.

The major focus of the Durham County Council’s enforcement work will be assessing the compliance of retailers in the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

Figures show that since April last year, alcohol was sold to an underage person on 16 occasions and tobacco was sold on eight occasions during test purchases.

This represented a failure rate of 15 per cent in relation to alcohol sales and 13 per cent in relation to tobacco sales.

As well as continuing test purchases, the council is also encouraging retailers to adopt the Challenge 25 scheme, which is aimed at ensuring they ask for proof of age from young people who look under 25.

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at the council, said: “We have seen a number of successes over the last year in tackling underage sales.

“But alcohol and tobacco remains a concern as some retailers are still not adhering to the age restrictions in relation to these products.”

The council’s cabinet is being asked to approve the enforcement plan when they meet on Wednesday.