Grocer Club readers have voted unanimously in favour of the new government-backed Connexions identity card for teenagers. In a straw poll carried out this week, all retailers questioned by The Grocer said the card was a great idea and long overdue. Under the remit of the Department for Education and Skills, the Connexions card is about to be tested through schools in Darlington, Durham. It will be available free to all youngsters aged between 16 and 19 and will begin its national roll-out to schools throughout England in January. Although the main function of the card is linked to education and training, the DfES has agreed to include a photograph and the date of birth of the holder, enabling the card to be used for proof of age purposes. Jacky Shorting, manager of the North End off licence in King's Lynn, Norfolk, said the launch of the card was a very good move. "We don't have any major problems in this area, but we have to be vigilant. If we have any doubt at all about a young person's age we ask for ID and, if the person is unable to provide it, we refuse the sale." Spar retailer Subhas Patel from Richmond, Surrey, said the Connexions card was excellent news and added: "It should have been available long ago. It's a very big problem around here and the photograph will be a great help." Patel said the photograph on the card would make retailing a lot easier and believed it would help any business where proof of age is required. It would also be a tremendous benefit to clubs, pubs and other leisure-based outlets, he added. Iqbal Sadana runs a general store and post office in Chingford, north-east London, and welcomed the new card. He said: "It's a rule in my shop that we don't sell alcohol or cigarettes, but the Connexions card is a great idea and will be most helpful when it comes to lottery cards. Young boys are looking bigger and girls often appear older than they are. "We have a particular problem with scratch cards and often get some verbals when we refuse a sale because we think someone is too young. "Camelot recently sent a youngster in to purchase a lottery ticket. We refused the sale and have had a letter from the lottery operator congratulating us on our vigilance." Jane Moore, who runs a Spar shop in Cheswardine, Shropshire, said: "We know most of our customers by name. However, proof of age must be a major headache for inner city stores, so a proper ID card will benefit." {{GROCER CLUB }}