Cigarette sales shocker

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AS many as half of all Wigan’s tobacconists are selling cigarettes to minors.

Those are the shock conclusions of a 12-month campaign of test purchases carried out by young volunteers working with Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team.

And now Julie Middlehurst, the council’s chief trading standards officer, says it’s time to get tough on offenders.

She said: “We are committed to supporting those businesses who want to ensure that they do not sell tobacco to under-18s and we are on hand to provide support, information and advice to shop workers on how to deal with people they think are underage.

“But we will come down hard on those who flout the laws.

“We want to warn businesses that if we do catch anyone selling tobacco to under-18s we will take legal action where appropriate.

“We know that the majority of retailers are working hard to ensure no under-age sales take place.

“But it is our ambition to make sure all shops comply with the law, and to make it as difficult as possible for young people to get hold of cigarettes and start smoking.”