Shops caught selling age-restricted items to children

Posted on: Wednesday 6 September 2023

Knives and alcohol have been sold to children under the age of 16 during a test purchasing operation in Torfaen. 

The Council’s Trading Standards team and the Gwent Police cadets recently visited 15 shops, where 19 attempts were made to purchase age restricted items. Ten items were sold in eight shops to the cadets, who were under the age of 16, and all of these items had a legal age restriction of 18 years old.  

Two kitchen knives, two four packs of Thatcher’s Cider, a four pack of WKD, a can of Malibu, and a vape were among the underage items sold to the cadets.

Warnings have been issued to the retailers who sold the items, and reminders provided about the laws in place and their responsibilities to protect children from harmful substances and products. It is recommended that shops should operate a Challenge 25 policy, carry out checks of photographic ID when appropriate, and keep a log of sales that are refused.  

Councillor Mandy Owen, Executive member for the Environment, said: “I would like to thank our Trading Standards Officers and Gwent Police for their efforts in identifying shops selling items to children, and offering advice to assist them in complying with the law. 

“What is disturbing about these sales is that these retailers have comprehensive policies and procedures relating to the sale of underage goods, but evidently they were not being implemented. This demonstrates the importance of independent checks undertaken by Trading Standards Officers to protect children from risks of harm.

“I would urge anyone with concerns about individuals or businesses selling age restricted items to underage people to contact the Council’s Trading Standards team.” 

Inspector Lee Stachow, Gwent Police, said, "Age restrictions on sale items are there for a reason to keep children safe and it's disappointing so see that some businesses are failing in their duties to abide by the law, disregarding how harmful their actions can be.

"Our cadets play a pivotal role in catching those retailers who are breaking the law and we will continue to work with our partners, taking part in these operations, to ensure those businesses are prosecuted and held to account."

Businesses that persistently fail in their legal duty to prevent underage sales can be prosecuted and fined. Where an alcohol licence is in place, the local authority may also apply for it to be reviewed, which could result in the licence being restricted or even removed.  

The Trading Standards team can be contacted by email at or by phone on 01495 762200. Any information supplied will be treated in confidence.  

Undertaking test purchases of age restricted goods with partners supports the Council’s County Plan by championing children, young people, and families, so they can thrive. Read more about the County Plan.    

Read about a recent illegal vape sale operation  

Last Modified: 06/09/2023 Back to top