Council get tough over tobacco sales

North Lanarkshire Council is clamping down on retailers who sell tobacco to underage customers

North Lanarkshire Council is clamping down on retailers who sell tobacco to underage customers

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Tobacco banning orders have been imposed on two Airdrie retailers, the first time this action has been taken in North Lanarkshire.

The orders were granted by Airdrie Sheriff Court following an application by North Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards Service.

They prevent Zulfiqar Hamid and Shahida Begum, who operated a business in partnership, from operating a tobacco retail businesses from their premises for six months from February 23, 2015.

Officers caught them selling tobacco products to under age customers on three separate occasions between October 2013 and September 2014, despite previous advisory visits and fixed penalty notices being issued.

Paul Bannister, Trading Standards Manager, said: “We advise retailers to adopt a ‘Think 25’ policy and seek proof of age to ensure they are not supplying tobacco to people under the age of 18, or they face a fixed penalty notice and ultimately a ban.

“We carry out regular test purchases using volunteers to monitor how retailers deal with customers who appear to be under age.

“Most shops act responsibly and comply with the rules but, in this case, the owners continued to sell tobacco without checking ages.

“This is the first time the council has applied for a ban on a retailer and it should send a clear warning to others that we will take legal action against anyone who breaks the rules.”

Anyone with concerns about shops selling tobacco products to underage customers should e-mail {mailto:tradingstandards@northlan.gcsx.gov.uk|Trading Standards|TS or call 01236 638800.