challenge 25

Retailers are still regularly selling alcohol and tobacco products to teenage shoppers without ID checks despite stringent Think 25 rules.

Research by retail age check auditor Serve Legal revealed nearly one in six teenage ‘mystery shoppers’ were sold alcohol without having to produce age identification. Some 24% required no ID to buy tobacco.

The mystery shoppers were all 18 or 19 and legally entitled to buy alcohol and tobacco, but under the Think 25 law they should have been required to produce ID.

The research by Serve Legal covering retailers, fuel stations and online is based on 42,984 sale tests in 2016. Of these, petrol stations were revealed to have the worst practices for checking ages when selling alcohol, passing 78% of tests. Supermarkets passed 84%.

The tests also revealed geographical discrepancies within the UK. Scottish retailers scored an 87% pass rate, while Northern Ireland had the lowest regional pass rate of 72%.

Serve Legal said the prevalence of e-commerce alcohol sales had made clamping down harder. Of 500 transactions online, only 41% required proof of age.

Serve Legal director Ed Heaver said: “We are seeing far too few online retailers committing to age check testing at the point of delivery.

“Even the most stringent age check measures at the point of online purchase do not prevent a delivery driver failing to ask for proof of age before handing over age-restricted goods on the doorstep or leaving goods in a porch or shed for an underage buyer to collect.”