Trader sold cigarettes to underage child

TRADING standards officials have warned they are clamping down on under-age sales of cigarettes following the prosecution of a shopkeeper in Hartlepool.

Naheem Khan, who runs Belle Vue Wines in Sydenham Road, was fined 300 with 366 costs and a 15 victim surcharge by Hartlepool magistrates after he admitted selling cigarettes to a child.

The prosecution followed an under-age sales exercise carried out by the council's Trading Standards team in which a 15-year-old girl volunteer entered the shop and was served with a packet of 10 cigarettes by a sales assistant without being asked for identification or proof of age.

Rachael Byron, from the Trading Standards team, said: "I am pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and hope that it will serve as a warning to other stores which may not be thoroughly checking their customers' ages before selling age-restricted products."

Anyone with information about shops selling age-restricted products to children can call (01429) 523362.