Trading Standards - Underage Sales

Age Restricted Sales

Alcohol, Young People and The Law - Advice for Parents and Young People

Many parents worry about their children smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. When is the right time to talk to your children?  Young people may also want advice about these subjects and may find it difficult to talk to their parents.  The information below gives lots of advice and information to help, we have also included some web links which provide further information.

Tackling Underage Sales

Age restrictions for products are brought in by the Government to protect the underage person.  The impact of underage drinking and smoking can be devastating on the health and development of the individual.

It is a criminal offence to sell an age-restricted product to someone who is underage.  The punishment can be a fine of up to £5000 or 6 months imprisonment.

Communities can also be badly affected, particularly by underage drinking which can often lead to anti-social behaviour and a fear of crime. The Isle of Wight Trading Standards Service works with Hampshire Constabulary and other departments within the Council to tackle these issues.

The list in the table below shows the age restrictions for all relevant products: 

Goods Age restriction
Adult fireworks and sparklers (category F2 [outdoor use - confined areas] and category F3 [outdoor use - large open areas] fireworks) 18 and over
Aerosol paint 16 and over
Alcohol 18 and over
Christmas crackers 12 and over
Crossbows 18 and over
Knives / axes / blades 18 and over (in Scotland domestic knives can be sold to those aged 16 and over)
Lighter refills containing butane 18 and over
Liqueur confectionery (Scotland only) 16 and over
Lottery tickets / 'instant win' cards 16 and over
Nicotine inhaling products (England and Wales only) 18 and over
Party poppers and similar low-hazard low-noise fireworks (category F1) (except Christmas crackers) 16 and over
Petrol 16 and over
Sunbeds 18 and over
Tobacco 18 and over
Video recordings: U (universal) unrestricted
Video recordings: PG (parental guidance) unrestricted
Video recordings: classification 12 12 and over
Video recordings: classification 15 15 and over
Video recordings: classification 18 18 and over
Video recordings: classification R18 18 years and over in a licensed sex shop
Video games: PEGI rating 3 unrestricted
Video games: PEGI rating 7 unrestricted
Video games: PEGI rating 12 12 and over
Video games: PEGI rating 16 16 and over
Video games: PEGI rating 18 18 and over

Trading Standards and prevention of underage sales

The Service carries out test purchases to check retailers are complying with the law and not selling age-restricted products to underage persons.  These exercises involve a young person attempting to buy an age-restricted product such as alcohol, tobacco, solvents, knives or spray paints. If you are aged between 14 and 16 and a half years old and would be interested in carrying out test purchases under the watchful eye of the Trading Standards Team, please get in touch using the 'Contact' details in the tab above.

Challenge 25

For retailers wishing to use the Challenge 25 age verification policy, the link to materials is available from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association website are available by clicking here.

Reporting Underage Sales

If you have witnessed the sale of age-restricted products, or believe a business is selling age-restricted products illegally, please get in touch using the details provided in the 'Contact' tab above.  All contact will be treated in confidence.

Links for parents and young people: