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Age restricted products

Age-restricted products are those goods and services for which there is a minimum legal age to buy them. Trading Standards has a duty to enforce the law relating to a number of age restricted products:

  • alcohol
  • tobacco products
  • explosives (such as fireworks, sparklers, party poppers and caps)
  • solvents
  • butane gas refills
  • offensive weapons (knives)
  • petroleum
  • lottery
  • aerosols
  • videos, DVDs, video games etc

Age restricted products and the law

Age restricted products have a minimum age of purchase due to their potentially harmful nature and because they have the potential to cause one or more of the following:

  • short term harm to the consumer/user (physical or emotional)
  • long term harm to the consumer/user (physical or emotional)
  • harm to others/wider society
  • increased risk of the consumer/user being a perpetrator of crime and disorder
  • increased risk of the consumer/user being a victim of crime and disorder

It is an offence to sell products to someone younger than the minimum legal age and for some products it is an offence for somebody below the legal age to try to buy them. The following Age Restricted Products Table document provides confirmation of the legal age restrictions. 

Age Restricted Products table

Size: 213.31 KB File format: pdf

How to prevent underage sales

Trading Standards wants to help your business avoid making underage sales by:  

  • offering business advice and staff training
  • providing resources for training staff
  • providing point of sale materials
  • helping you to understand and use the Challenge 25 policy

A Challenge 25 packs contains:

  • posters informing customers that they will be required to show proof of age when buying alcohol or other age-restricted products
  • posters informing under 18s that it is an offence to buy or attempt to buy alcohol
  • posters informing customers that is it an offence to buy alcohol on behalf of an under 18
  • till stickers with a short script printed on them to help staff challenge for proof of age
  • shelf-sliders
  • staff badges
  • sample proof of age cards

Challenge 25 main alcohol poster

Size: 36.47 KB File format: pdf

Challenge 25 Poster

Size: 123.28 KB File format: pdf

Challenge 25 Proxy Purchasing poster

Size: 637.86 KB File format: pdf

Challenge 25 Shelf Slider

Size: 24.64 KB File format: pdf

Challenge 25 underage purchasing poster

Size: 637.95 KB File format: pdf

For more information about preventing underage sales or if you would like a Challenge 25 pack please contact Trading Standards on 0345 045 5206 or [email protected]

Test purchasing

In order to check businesses are complying with the age-restriction laws Trading Standards conducts test purchase operations. This is done simply to check a business is trading in the correct way and not to trick you or catch you out. Therefore, the council always:

  • uses volunteers who are under seventeen and a half and normally younger than sixteen and a half years old
  • chooses volunteers who look their age
  • ensures volunteers are not made up to look older than they are

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