Mixed results in firework, cigarette and vape test purchasing by Trading Standards
13th November 2019
Highland Council's Trading Standards team is reporting mixed findings from its Autumn age restricted product test purchase programme. During the exercise, premises in Easter Ross, Inverness and Aviemore were test purchased for fireworks, cigarettes and vape liquids.
The findings were:
All 15 shops test purchased for fireworks correctly refused to sell to the young test purchase volunteer.
13 premises were test purchased for cigarettes and one failed, selling cigarettes to the young volunteer.
Vape liquids were test purchased at 10 premises and 2 businesses sold the liquids to the young volunteer.
The businesses who were found to break the law were all issued with Fixed Penalty Notices for £200.
David MacKenzie, Trading Standards Manager said: "While it is positive that no fireworks were sold to our underage volunteers, it is disappointing that three retail premises sold cigarettes and vapes to our young volunteers. Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to the businesses involved and trading standards officers are also working with the businesses concerned to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. We are pleased that the majority of the local shops that we checked did the right thing and refused to sell. Businesses should ensure that both they and their staff are aware of the law when selling age restricted products."
Since 1 April 2017, it has been legal requirement for all businesses selling tobacco, cigarette papers or vapes to have an Age Verification Policy in place. It is an offence to sell these products without such a policy.
An Age Verification Policy is the agreed steps that have been put in place by a retailer to ensure that any customer requesting these products who appears to be under 25 is asked for proof of age. Retailers should keep a record of the Age Verification Policy they have agreed and should make sure that all staff are familiar with this.
David MacKenzie added: "We would advise all businesses that they can seek further advice from our Service to ensure they prevent sales to underage persons from occurring wherever possible."
Trading Standards regularly carry out test purchase exercises and the process is very strictly controlled to protect the welfare of young volunteers and at the same time be fair to the businesses involved. Any retailer that sells an age restricted product to an underage volunteer may receive a warning or a fine. Furthermore, in the case of cigarettes, if they repeat the offence, they can be banned from selling tobacco.
Further information on test purchasing can be found at:
Following the freezing of some charges and suspension of enforcement for others during the lockdown period, The Highland Council has been following a phased return to normal operations since the 26th of June. Further details are given below.
Many Highland Council tenants may be missing out on help towards their rent from Universal Credit because they have not notified the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of their annual rent increase which came into effect on the 30th March 2020. Those tenants who have not yet reported their rent increase could be facing a shortfall in the help they receive towards their rent, putting them at risk of rent arrears.
The Highland Council is updating parents and carers of its position on early learning and childcare (ELC). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scottish Government removed the statutory requirement for Local Authorities to deliver 1140 hours of ELC from August.
Following on from the recent publication of Highland Council's Supporting Economic Recovery in Highland - A Guide for Businesses - the Council is announcing relaxation of some controls that will assist tourist accommodation providers have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In recognition of this where there are specific planning and licensing controls in relation to occupancy, for example: a restriction on the occupancy of any caravan for a continuous 12 month period; or where conditions restrict occupancy for specific periods of time, ...these will be relaxed by the Council up to and including April 2021.
The Caithness Committee met virtual today for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and it's agenda focused on the actions taken by the Council and the third sector to deal with the effects of Coronavirus in Caithness. The Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Paul Senior, gave members an update on the plans and preparations underway to prepare for the return of pupils and staff to Caithness schools in August.
Margaret Davidson, the Leader of the Highland Council has given her strong support to the efforts of the Scottish Government to obtain greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Government. The Scottish Government have sought flexibility to offset capital underspend against resource expenditure, more flexibility over resource borrowing and greater flexibility over the use of the reserve for capital.
The Highland Council is planning to re-open play areas across the region throughout summer. Advice was provided by the Scottish Government on 28 June as to the safety measures that should be applied.
The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland recognised to develop a Schools Digital Learning Hub, which provides a resource for staff, parents and pupils to support home learning. Prior to Covid-19, we had an estate of 27,000 Chromebooks that were already a part of our ICT in Learning Strategy.
Earlier today (Wednesday 1 July 2020) members of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss (by video conference) progress made with the Corran Ferry Project which is reviewing the options for securing a replacement ferry and considering the way forward for the future operation and management of the service. The Corran ferry service has reached a critical point and strategic decisions need to be made.
As Scotland prepares for the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sector, The Highland Council's Environmental Health are advising holiday accommodation providers to make sure their private water supplies are safe to drink. A large number of self-catering and tourist accommodation in the Highlands are served by private water supplies and with these being closed during the lockdown period, the water supply system may not have been maintained and could create a risk to the quality and safety of the drinking water.