On 22 November 2019, a Thatcham based company, Vaper Wise Ltd trading from Vapourwise, 1 High Street, Thatcham, RG19 3JD entered a guilty plea by post at Reading Magistrates Court, to an offence of selling a nicotine based vape liquid to a person under 18.
The company were fined £800 and ordered to pay court costs of £2041.88 plus a victim surcharge of £80.This followed a planned test purchase at the premises under supervision of officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service on 20 February 2019.
The facts of the case are as follows; On 30 August 2018 a young person aged under 18 was sold a vape liquid containing nicotine at the store as part of a test purchasing exercise.
Advice was provided to the company following the sale and the company were warned that Trading Standards would re-visit on a further occasion to carry out another test purchase. On 20 February 2019 the Trading Standards service returned to the store, with a 15 year old volunteer.
The seller did ask for identification and proof of age, but was told by the volunteer that she did not have any with her although she did indicate by date of birth that she was eighteen.
The seller asked a senior member of staff if he should make the sale as Trading Standards had previously been to the store, and was told that he could.
“It is very important that retailers of age restricted products have robust proof of age policies in place and ensure they are adhered to.
“This includes asking for age verification identification in line with the retailer’s policy and refusing to sell where this cannot be provided.”Sean Murphy, Manager, Public Protection Partnership
Anyone wishing to report the sale of age restricted products to persons under the age of 18 or any business requiring advice should contact PPP Trading Standards (01635) 519930 or visit www.publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk