Trading standards officers have caught two businesses in Aberdeenshire selling tobacco and fireworks without the relevant checks.
Officers from the Aberdeenshire Council team have been conducting checks across the region by sending a young volunteer out to purchase age-restricted goods.
1/2 Our Trading Standards Officers have been conducting fireworks and tobacco test purchasing throughout Aberdeenshire. We are disappointed to report that our young volunteer has been sold fireworks on 2occasions.
— @AberdeenshireTS (@AberdeenshireTS) November 5, 2020
A statement on Twitter from the team reads: “Our trading standards officers have been conducting fireworks and tobacco test purchasing throughout Aberdeenshire.
“We are disappointed to report that our young volunteer has been sold fireworks on two occasions.
“We will continue to conduct test purchasing and will take the appropriate enforcement action.
“We would like to remind all retailers of fireworks that it is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18 years of age.”
The test purchases come ahead of Bonfire Night and, despite most events being cancelled, police have issued advice for those wishing to set off fireworks.
— North East Police (@NorthEPolice) November 5, 2020
A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Aberdeenshire Councils Trading Standards Team take the illegal sale of age-restricted products very seriously.
“To combat the sale of restricted products to underage purchasers, the team regularly use volunteers to conduct a series of age-restricted test purchases
“During the last few weeks trading standards officers visited a number of premises throughout Aberdeenshire that are licensed to sell fireworks or registered to sell tobacco and vaping products.
“The volunteers attempted to purchase tobacco or fireworks at these premises.
“During this exercise, it was disappointing that a national retailer sold fireworks to persons under the age of 18 and was therefore committing a criminal offence.
“Test purchase initiatives are a valuable tool in the protection of our communities and highlight where breaches of important safety legislation occurs.
“Where breaches are identified, trading standards officers will engage with the retailer to ensure that steps are taken to prevent recurrence, enforcement action will be taken where necessary to ensure compliance.
“In this instance trading standards officers will engage with the retailer to ensure that all measures are taken to prevent any further breaches.
“Further test purchases will take place and where any further underage sales take place the council will not hesitate to take enforcement action.
“In addition to the underage sale of fireworks, retailers found to be selling tobacco-related products to persons under the age of 18 can be issued with a fixed penalty notice or prosecuted and these can be issued to both the individual seller and the retailer.
“These test purchasing initiatives support the community safety and Scottish Fire and Rescue 2020 bonfire strategy.”