On-the-spot fine for under-age tobacco sales

Retail staff face an £80 on-the-spot the fine if they sell tobacco to under-18s from next Monday.

The power is being given to police under a statutory instrument laid before parliament in December, but details have not been communicated to the trade before now.

The Association of Convenience Stores is lobbying for a three-month delay to allow all retailers to be made aware of the penalty they could face, and says more consultation is needed if similar orders are made in the future.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman says: “We are extremely concerned that this new penalty, which could be used against people working in shops from the end of this month, has been introduced without reference to the industry. It is tantamount to introducing a penalty by stealth and is totally unacceptable.”

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