Due to essential maintenance, the website may be unavailable during the weekend. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Underage sales checks
What young volunteers do
The young person will be asked to enter shops and attempt to buy an age restricted product. They are asked to tell the truth at all times (if for example they are asked how old they are). They will not be asked to work in areas where they are likely to be recognised.
If they are sold an age restricted item, the trader concerned will be subject to a formal investigation. If this results in a prosecution, the young person may need to attend court as a witness and be identified.
More about the exercises
Trading Standards test purchase exercises are carried out in accordance with the Government approved Code of Best Practice and with parental consent
The volunteer must not wear make-up or dress to look older than they are.
They will be accompanied by an officer in the shop and by at least two other officers at all other times.
No payment can be made for the volunteer's assistance, but we provide a certificate which can be used in the volunteer's Record of Achievement portfolio or as evidence of their service to the community. Appropriate refreshments are provided.
The purpose of the exercise is to help prevent the illegal sale of age restricted products, and where necessary, to obtain evidence to commence a prosecution.
The volunteer's identity is not revealed in any subsequent publicity.
Who can apply?
Volunteers must be aged between 13 and 16 years. This work may be of particular interest to students who are considering a career in Trading Standards, law enforcement, the Police or other enforcement agencies as it provides the opportunity to gain first hand experience of working alongside qualified Trading Standards Officers and Enforcement Officers.
For more information, please contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454040506.