Poole shop keeper successfully prosecuted for under-age sales

A Poole-based shop owner has been successfully prosecuted for selling a box of fireworks to an underage customer on 28 October 2015 by Borough of Poole Trading Standards.

Lee Maxwell Rowe failed to ask for an age, or proof of ID, when a 16 year old volunteer, acting under the supervision of Trading Standards Officers from Borough of Poole’s Environmental & Consumer Protection Services Unit, purchased garden fireworks from Nightkaps off-licence, located at Norrish Road, Poole.

The Nightkaps store was included as one of several premises to be visited in order to check that they did not sell age restricted products during an operation in October last year.

Mr Rowe pleaded guilty to underage selling at Bournemouth Magistrates Court on 08 December 2016. He also pleaded guilty to failing to prominently display the required notice in the store. This is a written notice that all firework sellers are required to display, explaining that it is illegal to sell adult fireworks to anyone under the age of 18, and that it is also illegal for persons under the age of 18 to possess adult fireworks in a public area.

This is not the first time that Nightkaps off-licence has been caught selling products to underage customers. On 18 December 2014 a member of Mr Rowe’s staff received a fixed penalty notice when she sold alcohol to 15 year old volunteer acting under the supervision of Poole Trading Standards officers. The premises were also given guidance on complying with age-restricted product legislation at this time.

Jane Burrows, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole Environmental & Consumer Protection Services, explained; “We are please that the courts have ordered Mr Rowe to pay £1,050 in fines and towards the Council’s legal costs. Mr Rowe, who has since stopped operating the Nightkaps store, has also been told that he should comply with the  law by displaying the correct materials and checking identification when selling such products in the future, and that the selling of such dangerous items to a young person under 18 was a serious offence.”

Cllr John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environmental & Consumer Protection, Borough of Poole, said; “Borough of Poole Environmental & Consumer Protection Services provide advice to all Poole premises selling age-restricted products including fireworks, alcohol, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and e-juice. This advice includes offering Poole premises free access to the Trading Standards‘No Proof of Age, No Sale’ toolkit that includes a film and an interactive video. There is no excuse for local businesses to not display the correct signage or know the law.”

At the time of Mr Rowe selling the box of fireworks to the 16 year old, he had failed to take up the offer of this free resource from the Council.

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