Young people should not be allowed to lie about their age during test purchase operations says the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

It has urged local authority group LACORS to drop plans to allow under-18s to lie in operations challenging retailers.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said just because children sometimes lie, it did not mean that the behaviour should be condoned by local authorities. He said: “I fail to see the logic that would justify encouraging a young person to lie about their age in order to gain access to products they are not entitled to, whatever the circumstances.”

Beadles added: “I am concerned that LACORS’ desire to create realistic situations could bring into question the morality, legality and practicability of test purchase operations.”

The ACS is also against young people lying. Public affairs manager James Lowman said: “Test purchasing should be there to improve standards, not just to catch people. We would question whether it makes [the scenario] more realistic as someone who is lying will behave differently to someone committing an actual offence.”

LACORS is currently reviewing its Test Purchasing Code of Best Practice, proposing paying the young person involved for their help and using genuine proof of age cards.

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