Training provider Under Age Sales is hoping to help more retailers prevent sales to minors thanks to a new partnership Retail Guardian which has recently updated its software to include fingerprint scanning technology.

Originally launched in May, Retail Guardian was initially designed to enable shop owners to monitor the behaviour and productivity of staff using time-keeping, time management and payroll tools.

However, new software developments mean the system can now help retailers verify the age of customers using fingerprint technology.

The partnership will see Under Age Sales promote the benefits of the Retail Guardian system to all convenience stores and newsagents it works with.

The system allows retailers to scan and log the fingerprints of customers who have previously proven their age using a passport or driving licence.

The next time the customer is in the store, they can quickly and easily swipe their fingerprint on a piece of biometric scanning equipment, which highlights to the retailer that the customer is above the legal age to buy alcohol, tobacco or other age restricted products.

Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, said: “Retailers are required to take all reasonable precautions to avoid the sale of age restricted products to children and young people.

“Sometimes, simply asking for proof of age isn’t effective, so it’s great news for the industry that we have the advanced technology of Retail Guardian available to assist retailers in their due diligence.

“Anything which makes it easier for retailers to be sure they’re protecting minors from coming into contact with age restricted products is warmly welcomed, and as such we anticipate this new arm of the Retail Guardian software to be a huge success.”

Bharat Popat, owner of Oval Food, Wines and Spirits in Sidcup, was introduced to Retail Guardian by Under Age Sales and now uses the fingerprint recognition software to verify the age of his customers.

 “We have a relatively young clientele, aged between 16 and 35 typically. We enforce Challenge 25 but that isn’t always effective as often, people forget their ID and become frustrated when they’ve bought our products so many times in the past.

“Alternatively, they might have shown their ID to one member of staff several times, but not another, who doesn’t recognise them.

“Installing Retail Guardian has made make our training more effective, and means we can protect ourselves from the risk of being fined, should we ever inadvertently sell alcohol or tobacco to under age customers.”