The authors of a government report have recommended that newsagents should be required to comply with a mandatory code of practice for lads' mags.

The Home Office-commissioned report, The Sexualisation of Young People, says the code should allow customers to report retailers who place such magazines at "children's eye level", or next to publications aimed at children and young people.

It also says the titles, such as Nuts and Zoo, should be marked clearly as recommended for sale only to those aged 15 and over.

Association of News Retailing managing director John Lennon said retailers were already taking their responsibilities seriously under the publishing industry's voluntary code.

"We are not convinced that there is a need for regulation to go further," he said, and called for evidence to show that the measures would be effective.

"New age restrictions would add to the great weight of red tape already imposed on retailers," Lennon added. "We believe that any action taken to impose new legislation must be based on a compelling case that the measure will make a measurable difference to an identified problem. At this stage it is not possible to reach that conclusion."