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Community and living, Trading standards

Fine for shopkeeper who sold cigarettes to boy, 16

A Streatham shop owner who sold cigarettes to an underage boy has been fined £500 after a prosecution by Lambeth Council.

Harpreet Singh, who owns Bola Bros Off Licence, Streatham High Road, Streatham, sold the cigarettes to the boy without asking for any ID during a test purchasing operation run by the council’s Trading Standards team in December.

Lambeth Council Trading Standards officers regularly conducts ‘test-purchase’ operations, using teenage volunteers to visit shops and off licences to see whether they are willing to sell age restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco or knives to people who appear under 18 and who have no valid form of ID.

Mr Singh pleaded guilty to the offence, under Section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on 26th April 2011. As well as the £500 fine he was ordered to pay costs to the council of £300 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Cllr Lorna Campbell, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “There is simply no excuse for shop keepers or their staff who sell cigarettes, alcohol or other age restricted goods such as knives to people who are underage. Shopkeepers must ask for appropriate ID if there is any doubt whatsoever that the person is underage.

“Our Trading Standards team do a vital job in protecting young people from harm by regularly running these operations and rooting out shopkeepers who break the law, and I hope this acts as a warning to others that the council takes this type of offence extremely seriously.”

Lambeth Council Trading Standards also regularly use underage volunteers to test pubs and bars for under age sales of alcohol.

If anyone has information about the underage sale of cigarettes, alcohol, knives or other age restricted goods, they should contact Lambeth Trading Standards on 020 7926 6102 or tradingstandards@lambeth.gov.uk.

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