Underage sales

Trading Standards enforces legislation preventing the supply of age-restricted products or services to children under the legal age.

It's a criminal offence to sell alcohol to a child or to buy alcohol on behalf of a child

The list of age-restricted products and services includes:

Minimum age of for purchase or supply

18 or over

16 or over

12 or over


Butane lighter fuel

Cigarettes, tobacco

Corrosive substances

Fireworks (category F2/F3)

Knives, blades and axes

Lottery tickets and scratchcards 

Vapes (nicotine inhaling products)

Crossbows, replica and lookalike guns


Use of ultra-violet radiation sunbeds or access to them

Administering botulinum toxin (botox) or subcutaneous, submucous or intradermal injection of a filler for a cosmetic purpose (cosmetic fillers)


Aerosol paints



Category F1 fireworks

Christmas crackers

DVDs, videos, games
(as marked 12, 15, or 18)

Find more information on age restricted treatments and procedures visit our licensing pages.

If you believe someone is selling age restricted products or services to underage people, contact us in confidence

We work in partnership with the police, public health as well as local businesses and schools to tackle illegal underage sales.

We do this by:

  • offering retailers free advice, information leaflets, refusals registers and challenge 25 age check point of sale materials
  • undertaking educational work with young people to raise awareness of the law and the health reasoning behind it
  • supporting PASS approved proof of age cards
  • carrying out supervised test purchasing operations using underage volunteers
  • prosecuting and issuing fixed penalty notices or cautioning those who make illegal sales
  • instigating reviews of alcohol premises licenses, resulting in suspension or revocation of licences 
  • seeking voluntary closure of licensed premises for 48 hours to two weeks following two illegal sales in two months
  • seeking a court order banning certain persons or premises from selling tobacco products where illegal sales have occurred repeatedly
  • supporting the responsible retailer agreement for knife retailers (knife charter)
If you need information or advice on selling age-restricted products, see our information for businesses

Page last updated: 10 November 2023


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