​​​​​​​Highland business sold fireworks to young test purchase volunteer

Highland Council’s Trading Standards team is reporting mixed findings from the age restricted sales test purchase programme it recently carried out in the Inverness and Easter Ross areas.  

During the recent exercise, while a total of 13 retailers correctly refused to sell, one business premises failed to prevent fireworks being sold to a young test purchase volunteer.

David MacKenzie, Trading Standards Manager said: “It is disappointing that one retail premises sold an age restricted product to one of our young volunteers. However, trading standards officers are working with the business concerned to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. And we are pleased that most of the local shops that we checked did the right thing and refused to sell.  Businesses should remember that all sorts of goods can carry an age restriction and that they should ensure that both they and their staff are aware of the law when selling an age restricted product.”

Various products carry an age restriction and include goods such as: adult fireworks and sparklers; cigarette lighter refills containing butane; tobacco and nicotine vapour products (more commonly known as ‘e-cigarettes’). Such products can only be sold to persons 18 years and over. Other age restricted products can be sold to persons 16 years and over. These include: aerosol paint; party poppers and similar low-hazard low-noise fireworks. All video recordings and video games carry various age restrictions that can range from “unrestricted” to 18 years and over.

David MacKenzie added: “We would advise all businesses that they can seek further advice from our Service to ensure they prevent sales to underage persons from occurring wherever possible.”

Trading Standards regularly carry out test purchase exercises and the process is very strictly controlled to protect the welfare of young volunteers and at the same time be fair to the businesses involved.  Any retailer that sells an age restricted product to an underage volunteer may receive a warning, a fine or even a period of imprisonment.

Further information on test purchasing can be found on the Council’s website at:


or by contacting: The Highland Council’s Trading Standards Section at 38 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UF or by phoning 01463 228700.




22 Jan 2018