Wigan sunbed salons are being asked to stay vigilant in the run-up to the busy school prom season after an undercover operation showed big improvements in checks for underage customers.
Wigan Council’s trading standards team have hit the streets again visiting premises offering tanning services and found shops refusing children and increasing checks.
Premises investigated last year were revisited and found to correctly refuse the child volunteers. Other shops were found to introduce more robust pre-checks on customers.
This shows a marked improvement to last year when five out of 12 shops failed to ask for proof of age.
The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act, which came into force in 2011, makes it a criminal offence to allow an under-18 to use a sunbed or anyone who cannot prove they are an adult.
But as 16-year-olds prepare for their proms, the warning is being repeated to businesses who are being encouraged to ensure they operate a Challenge 25 age verification policy.
Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure and regulatory services, said: “It is extremely important that sunbed salon owners are vigilant when allowing members of the public to use their sunbeds. We are pleased businesses refused our child volunteers on recent visits but want to remind operators of their legal responsibilities so they can help to protect our children and young people.
“If you are a sunbed salon owner and are unsure how to adopt the Challenge 25 age policy please get in touch with our trading standards team for more information.”
The authority has also warned young people of the dangers of regularly using sunbeds which include the increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Prof Kate Ardern, borough director for public health, said: “Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
However, the risks are greater for young people with evidence showing that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk. While a tan can fade quickly, the long-term damage is irreversible. We would encourage young people to use safer alternatives such as tanning creams or spray tans.”