Fined for under-age fag sales

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WIGAN petrol station bosses must cough up nearly £2,000 after one of their staff sold fags to a child during an under-cover sting.

Magistrates heard that council trading standards worked with a 16-year-old volunteer who was tasked with entering premises around the borough in a bid to buy cigarettes.

The operation was part of the authority’s on-going campaign to crack down on under-age sales. During the exercise the volunteer was sold cigarettes at the Boar’s Head Petrol Station on Wigan Road, Standish.

Directors of Boar’s Head Petrol Station Ltd failed to attend the hearing and were found guilty of the offence in their absence. The company was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £250 in court costs.

Council Chief Trading Standards Office Julie Middlehurst said: “We have had considerable success recently in bringing legal action against local retailers and welcome news of this latest successful prosecution.

“Trading Standards work closely with local businesses who want to ensure that they do not sell tobacco to under-18s by giving advice and training on their legal responsibilities as well as tips on how to avoid selling all age-restricted products to young people. But whilst we recognise that the majority of retailers are responsible, we will come down hard on those who flout the laws. If we catch anyone selling tobacco to under-18s we will take legal action where appropriate.”

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for the environment and the community, added: “The court has handed down a significant fine which hopefully sends out a clear message to all tobacco retailers that the illegal sale of cigarettes to children will not be tolerated and that agencies take this issue very seriously.”