A South Tyneside newsagent has been fined for selling cigarettes to children and illegally displaying tobacco products in his shop.
Monir Hussein, who was the co-proprietor of Chichester News in Stanhope Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to selling a packet of ten cigarettes to a 16 year-old Trading Standards volunteer as part of a test purchase operation by South Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards team.
He also admitted that the shutters covering the tobacco display had been open while the volunteer and Trading Standards staff were in the shop, leading to one of the first ever successful prosecutions for the unauthorised display of tobacco products.
Despite advice being given by the Trading Standards service on several occasions regarding the display and age-restricted sales of tobacco products, Mr Hussein had not acted on this advice.
Magistrates fined him £140 and ordered him to pay £100 investigation costs and a £40 victim surcharge.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Public Health said: “Selling tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 will not be tolerated. Tobacco is an addictive and deadly product that must be prevented from falling into the hands of children and young people. Our Trading Standards service has spent a lot of time educating retailers to ensure they do not supply age-restricted products such as tobacco to those under age and it is always disappointing when such sales occur.
“Tobacco causes its users serious health problems, and also impacts on the community in the form of costs to the NHS.
“The display of tobacco products can promote smoking by young people and undermine the resolve of smokers trying to quit.”
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "Most smokers start as children or in their mid teens, and end up wishing they had never started.
"No other product will kill one in two of its lifelong customers, and both the 18 age limit and rules on displaying tobacco are there for a very good reason."
Anyone with information regarding under age sales can report this in confidence by calling 0800 0935878 or text the word UNDERAGE and details to 07786200802.