And how about this one? Vijay Patel runs The Paper Shop in London’s Holborn, a district I happen to know well. Camden Council (notorious in many ways to us Londoners) sent in a tall 15-year-old boy to test purchase. “It’s cheating,” protests Vijay, “there are no kids round here. Now we have to attend an interview. They’ve said I could take legal representation if required.”

Vijay’s store is strictly a CTN – he doesn’t have an offie or even groceries and he barely knows what kids look like. The closest ones go to Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design across the road and are already adult, or, if I stretch it, there might be a few Euro backpackers. So, what an ideal place for a sting. Those 6ft kids are really getting about. Are these test purchasing officers turning into the retailing equivalent of the speed camera? 

Vijay is a soft target. Why pick on him? I’ll go further. If he happens to sell a packet of fags to some big old kid once every few years, well, what a heinous crime. Throw away the bloody key. You may take it that I am a) ticked off and b) politically incorrect. Don’t care. Get real Camden!

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