Release date: 19 December 2017
Trading Standards officers hope the case of a Worthing shop losing its premises alcohol licence will deter others from stocking illicit tobacco and selling to under-age customers.
Worthing News in Rowlands Road had its licence revoked by Worthing Borough Council’s licensing committee last week.
The committee heard that tobacco products found at the shop presented a safety risk and that an under-age volunteer posing as a customer was sold electronic cigarette liquid.
Trading Standards officers, with a sniffer dog, found tobacco products which were not properly labelled behind the shop counter on 31 July.
A total of 780 cigarettes and 200g of rolling tobacco were seized.
Samples sent for analysis failed safety regulations as they did not self-extinguish. Other samples were found to be counterfeit and contravened the Trade Marks Act and some had foreign labelling with insufficient health warnings.
On 29 August, officers visited the shop with a volunteer, aged under 18, to test if under-age sales were being avoided through good practice. However, the volunteer was sold a bottle of e-liquid without being asked for identification by the shop worker.
West Sussex Trading Standard’s application for the licence to be revoked was supported by the County Council’s Public Health team and Sussex Police.
Trading Standard’s Team Manager Richard Sargeant said: “We hope this case will deter others from stocking illicit tobacco and selling to under-age customers.
“Public safety was being undermined by stocking tobacco which would not self-extinguish.”
Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger, Safer Communities, said: “Shops have a clear duty to protect children from harm by adopting good practice and asking to see identification to check a customer’s age and prevent under-age sales.”
Anyone with information about illicit tobacco can contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or can report details online.
To find your nearest GP offering stop smoking support, visit the West Sussex Wellbeing website and search ‘Smoking > Services for West Sussex’.