Tobacco retailers are reminded that they now face tough new penalties for selling cigarrettes to under 18s.

From this month any store caught selling tobacco to young persons aged under 18 three times within a two year period, one of which results in a criminal conviction, will face a restricted premises order (RPO) or a restricted sales order (RSO).

An RPO penalises the store in which the illegal sale was made - prohibiting it from selling tobacco for up to one year, while an RSO penalises the person who made the sales - prohibiting them from selling tobacco in any premises for up to one year.

Breaching the terms of either order could result in a fine of £20,000, meaning that retailers should be extra careful when recruiting new staff. 

Written warnings or cautions will be counted as two of a store’s three ‘strikes’.

Ken Patel, national spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance said that losing the right to sell tobacco would be devastating for any small retailer in the current climate.