A newsagent from Aberdeen has become the first retailer in Scotland to be banned from selling tobacco, following an investigation by Council Trading Standards officers.
The City Council secured a tobacco retail banning order against Tony’s Newsagent owner Shriraj Gindha, after he was caught selling tobacco products to under age customers “on numerous occasions.”
It is the first time that a tobacco banning order has been handed down to a registered tobacco retailer in Scotland and will be in place for 12 months.
Despite “repeated warnings and advisory visits” Aberdeen City Council’s Trading Standards team claimed that Shriraj had frequently been caught selling tobacco to under-age customers and had failed three separate test purchases between October 2011 and August 2013.
He had also received a warning letter from the council relating to another illegal sale in August 2011.
Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards team leader Graeme Paton said: “Despite numerous advisory visits, repeated warnings and fixed penalty notices, Shriraj Gindha continued to sell cigarettes to our 16-year-old test purchasing volunteers, never asking for proof of age or their date of birth.
“In light of repeated offending, we had little option but to seek an order from the court banning him from selling tobacco products.
“This was an extreme case and the majority of tobacco retailers in the city comply with the law. Those who do fail a test purchase visit rarely do so a second time.
“While we are pleased with the outcome of this case, we prefer to work with tobacco retailers to prevent illegal sales rather than take matters to court. I am pleased to say that almost all retailers in Aberdeen are receptive to this approach.”
Under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, all tobacco retailers are now required to be registered with the Scottish Government.
A local authority can apply to have a retailer banned from selling tobacco products where they breach the 2010 Act three times within a two-year period.