Aberdyfi man fined for the sale of cigarettes to children

A supermarket owner from Aberdyfi, Gwynedd has been fined £550 and ordered to pay £100 costs at Dolgellau Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday, 10 August).

Paul Turnbull was sentenced in respect of two charges brought by Gwynedd Council’s Trading Standards under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 relating to the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 in his shop, the A & P Superstore, Aberdyfi.

Prosecuting on behalf the Council, Geraint Edwards told the court that on 31 October 2008, as part of an exercise by Gwynedd Council’s Trading Standards team, a test purchase of a packet of cigarettes was made by a person aged 15. Mr Turnbull was interviewed about the sale by Trading Standards officers and given advice about precautions he should take to prevent such sales happening again. On 1 April 2009 another test purchase was attempted, this time by a volunteer aged 14, and again a sale of cigarettes was made. On this occasion, Mr Turnbull made the sale himself. When questioned by officers he said that he hadn’t been concentrating.

In court, Mr Turnbull pleaded guilty to both charges.

Sentencing him to a fine of £200 on the first charge and £350 on the second, the magistrates told Mr Turnbull that these were serious offences and that he needed to be more proactive in preventing such sales. The Council was also awarded £100 in prosecution costs.

Gwynedd Council’s Portfolio Leader for Public Protection, Councillor John R Jones said: “It is most important that persons be discouraged from taking up smoking. Preventing access by young people to cigarettes is an essential element in this campaign.”

Gwynedd Council’s Trading Standards team have been working with local businesses to reduce the incidents of illegal sales of age restricted goods such as alcohol, tobacco, knifes, butane lighter refills, aerosol paints and age restricted DVDs, videos and games. To address the problem sales staff have in determining the exact age of young customers, retailers are being encourage to introduce a ‘Think 21’ policy.

Gwynedd Council Public Protection Manager, John Reynolds added: “We appreciate how difficult it is for retailers to be sure about whether a young person is 18 or not and that is why we are recommending that anyone who is attempting to buy age restricted goods, and who appears to be under 21, be asked for identification.”

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