The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has called for tougher penalties for retailers who sell age-restricted goods to children.

According to the TSI, tough penalties should be the norm rather than the exception. It claims some retailers who are prosecuted escape with fines of as little as £50 - well below the £1,000 maximum available fine.
However, retailers believe the TSI should focus more on the way it carries out test purchasing rather than the fines issue.

Andrew Dike, who runs the Family Food Store in Crewkerne, Somerset, said: “Trading standards should look at the way they try to trick the majority of honest retailers over underage sales. Why should retailers pay anything for making an honest mistake, let alone £1,000?”

New DVD and CD Rom packages which demonstrate the consequences of selling age-restricted products to children will be shown to magistrates and local retailers as the TSI looks to put its message across.

TSI lead officer Sharon Sawyers said: “The courts need to help us send out a clear message to retailers that underage sales will not be tolerated.”