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Trading Standards – Sale of Restricted Products, Rogue Traders

Written by on 22 April 2024

Retailers in Staffordshire are being warned that they face further test purchases and strict enforcement action, in a bid to clamp down on the illegal sales of age-restricted products to children.

The warning from Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service follows latest figures from the Central England Trading Standards Authorities

The figures, from April 2023 to March 2024, show out of 742 premises visited by Trading Standards across the region, 24% of businesses sold an age-restricted product, including alcohol, tobacco, vapes and fireworks to underage shoppers. The volunteers used were both male and female, between 14 and 17 years old and were acting under the instruction of officers from Trading Standards.

In Staffordshire, 76 test purchases for vapes were attempted, with seven shops found to be selling products to underage volunteers.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: “We work closely with businesses across the county to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities around restricted age sales.  Thankfully, as we found in our test purchases, the majority of retailers do sell responsibly, however where this isn’t the case or rules are broken, our officers will take the appropriate action.”

An additional operation by Central England Trading Standards Authorities focusing on Botox and other cosmetic filler treatments, found that young volunteers were able to book appointments at 16 of the 18 premises visited; which is a shocking 88% non-compliance rate.

People can report businesses selling age restricted goods to under 18s on the Staffordshire Trading Standards confidential hotline on 01785330356.

Businesses can also get advice from the Business Companion website or by completing the online contact form at Trading Standards Business Advice – Staffordshire County Council.


Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service has issued a warning to residents about the growing menace of rogue traders operating in the county.

The warning hopes to protect consumers from unscrupulous individuals and ensure the highest standards of workmanship and service within the home improvement industries.

Rogue traders are individuals or companies that engage in deceptive practices, provide substandard services, and often fail to deliver on promises made to customers. They often target vulnerable individuals, the elderly, and those who may be less familiar with the home improvement process.

Rogue services on offer tend to include gardening and landscaping services, roofing work, energy saving products, and home improvements.

Newcastle LPT commander, Chief Inspector John Owen, said: “Keeping communities safe is our priority and this includes protecting people from rogue traders and doorstep crime, including distraction burglaries.

“Asking to see identification, listening to any doubts in your mind and not letting anybody into your property that you are unsure of are all ways to stay safe from this type of crime, which is often instigated by a cold call at your front door.

“Professionally qualified traders should always agree a price with the customer before starting any work and should be in a position to verify their employment. If you are concerned that someone may be a fraudster, ask them to ensure a price is agreed beforehand and do not invite them into your home.”

Tony Shore from Staffordshire Trading Standards said

Families worried about cold callers to their elderly relatives are being encouraged to get a ‘No Cold Callers’ notice for their door.  These are available free from Trading Standards.