90% of Inverness retailers pass Spray Paint Test Purchasing

Highland Council’s Trading Standards team is reporting positive findings from the spray paint test purchase programme it recently carried out in Inverness. 

A total of 10 premises were test purchased and 9 shops rightly refused to sell spray paints to the underage test purchase volunteer. However, one premises failed and a sale of spray paints was made to the 15-year-old.

David MacKenzie, Trading Standards Manager said: “The age restrictions in place for selling spray paints attempt to mitigate the damage caused by graffiti and solvent abuse. Business owners should ensure that both they and their staff are aware of the law when selling age restricted products. While it is positive that 90% of retailers tested correctly did not sell spray paints to our 15-year-old volunteer, unfortunately one premises did sell. Trading Standards officers are working with the business that sold the spray paints to stop any re-occurrence.”

Various products carry an age restriction including: fireworks; tobacco and vaping products; DVDs; video games and spray paints. Furthermore, recent legislation now makes it an offence to sell corrosive substances to anyone under 18.

David MacKenzie added: “We would advise all businesses that they can seek further advice from our Service on preventing underage sales.”

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. Furthermore, in the case of cigarettes and tobacco, if they repeat the offence, they can be banned from selling these products.

Further information on test purchasing can be found at:


27 Jan 2020