Fined: Kidlington shop sold cigarettes to a minor

A Kidlington shop owner and his store manager have been ordered to pay a total of £2385 for selling cigarettes to an underage buyer during a routine purchase operation on April 10, 2017 undertaken by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

Owner Soran Salih, who runs Wisla Supermarket at 12 The Parade, faced prosecution after manager, Erfran Gharib, sold a packet of Berkley Blue cigarettes to a Trading Standards volunteer, who had only recently turned seventeen.

The pair pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, January 10. The Court heard that a Trading Standards advice visit was made to the shop on April 5, where Mr Gharib was advised on ways to prevent selling age-restricted products to underage customers including to make age-verification checks such as Challenge 25.

However, just a few days later, when the test purchaser asked to buy some cigarettes, he responded “the cheapest”, he made the sale without any checks on the purchaser’s age.

At interview, Mr Salih, admitted that he hadn’t provided his staff with any formal, structured training in age-restricted sales and had instead relied on verbal reminders, despite being advised in writing to do so following a failed test purchase of alcohol in February 2017?, when cans of Budweiser had been sold to a 15 year old boy.

Mr Salih, 33, of The Parade, Kidlington was fined £1000 with £500 costs and £100 victim surcharge. Mr Gharib, 34, also of Kidlington, was fined £500 with £235 costs and £50 victim surcharge.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards said: “Around two-thirds of adult smokers admit to starting their habit when they were underage. Retailers have an important role to play in helping to stop the next generation of smokers from starting in the first place. Most take their responsibilities very seriously. We will not tolerate any retailers selling cigarettes or other age-restricted products to children.”

Jody Kerman, Trading Standards Operations Manager said: “whilst smoking rates have fallen considerably, unfortunately it is still the case that 300 children start smoking everyday in the UK. If anybody has any concerns about people selling tobacco and other restricted products to children, please report to Trading Standards by calling 03454 04 05 06”.

Notes to Editors:

A review of the premises licence for Wisla Supermarket was instituted by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and took place on November 20 at Cherwell District Council offices as a result of the underage sales of tobacco and alcohol.