Crackdown on under-age sunbed use

editorial image

Sunbed shops have been put on alert after an undercover probe found many breaking the law by allowing minors to use them.

The council’s trading standards team carried out an exercise at 14 sunbed salons across Wigan and Leigh with a 17-year-old volunteer who attempted to use a sunbed.

And nine offered the use of a sunbed to the young volunteer without asking for a proof of age.

It is a criminal offence to allow under-18s to use a sunbed or offer them use of one.

Trading standards are encouraging sunbed businesses in the borough to operate a “Challenge 25” age verification policy, involving photographic ID in the form of a driving licence, passport or an ID card bearing the PASS hologram.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for environment, said: “This is the first exercise of this type trading standards carried out and we were disappointed at the high level of sales. All these salons have previously received written guidance on the law and on how to avoid underage sales, however it is clear that some of these operators were not vigilant about the use of sunbeds by under-18s.

“It was not our intention to take legal action on this occasion but officers will be visiting the salons who failed the test purchase in order to advise them of the sale and how best to avoid future age restricted sales. We hope that this exercise will make all sunbed operators aware of their responsibilities with regard to the supply of sunbeds to under 18s.”

Officers will be carrying out further test purchases in the future.

Any borough salon owner wanting details on the laws on sunbed use by under-18s, can contact trading standards on 01942 827476 or email ts@wigan.gov.uk.

There are health risks associated with UV tanning equipment including increased risk of skin cancer. The Health and Safety Executive has a sunbed factsheet at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/misc869.pdf