A newsagent has been fined for selling cigarettes to an under-age teenager during a sting operation by the authorities.
The proprietor of Chichester News, in Stanhope Parade, South Shields, Mohammed Rahman, admitted being responsible for the sale of the packet of ten cigarettes to a 15-year-old
child during a test purchase carried out by South Tyneside Council’s trading standards team with support from Northumbria Police.
Trading standards officers had previously given advice and guidance to Mr Rahman to help prevent underage sales of tobacco products at his premises.
However, this advice was not followed.and South Tyneside magistrates have now ordered him to pay a fine of £223, investigation costs of £100 and a £30 victim surcharge.
Councillor Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “The sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 18 is illegal.
“Tobacco is a dangerous product and we must do all we can to prevent it from falling into the hands of children.
"Any supply to children puts them at risk of a developing a harmful addiction not to mention the multitude of serious health problems it can cause.
“Our trading standards officers do a great deal of work educating retailers to ensure they do not supply age restricted products, such as tobacco, to those who are under age. So it is really
disappointing when these incidents occur.
“We hope that this case sends out a clear message that this is something we will not tolerate.”
Anyone who wishes to report underage sales can do so in confidence by calling 0800 093 5878 or by texting the word "UNDERAGE" followed by the details to 07786 200 802.