Shops in Swale have been fined after being caught selling alcohol and e-cigarettes to children.

Officers from the town centre teams in Sittingbourne and Sheerness worked with five police cadets on Saturday 29 January 2022.

The volunteers, aged between 14 and 16, visited 11 shops and attempted to buy alcohol and e-cigarettes as part of a proactive operation to safeguard young people.

Three shops in Sittingbourne and two shops in Sheerness refused to sell the goods after asking for identification, however one shop sold a cadet two e-cigarettes, while another shop sold alcohol without checking I.D.

In Sheerness another shop sold two e-cigarettes to one of the cadets whilst a wine shop also failed to ask for identification and sold one of the teenager’s alcohol.

One shop is Sittingbourne nearly carried out the sale but then refused while another shop in Sheerness requested cash after a cadet tried to purchase alcohol.

Officers issued penalty notices to the shops which sold alcohol illegally, while the shops which sold the e-cigarettes were given words of advice.

The findings have also been passed onto Trading Standards who will now carry out their own investigation.

Swale Community Safety Unit Inspector Paul Stoner said: ‘We regularly carry out test purchases to ensure that local businesses are operating within the law.

‘Businesses have a responsibility to local communities and those who work and live within the area, and it is disappointing when they do not abide by the rules.

‘The action was not about calling-out businesses but to ensure they all understand they have a responsibility to help safeguard young people and must operate within the law.’

By Ed

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