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Underage sales

There are strict laws prohibiting the sale of certain products like alcohol, tobacco and fireworks to underage people.

Age restrictions for products are brought in by the Government to protect the underage person. The impact of underage drinking and smoking can be devastating on the health and development of the individual.

It is a criminal offence to sell an age-restricted product to someone who is underage. The punishment can be a fine of up to £5,000 or six months imprisonment.

Communities can also be badly affected, particularly by underage drinking which can often lead to anti-social behaviour and a fear of crime. The Trading Standards Service at Bedford Borough Council works closely with Bedfordshire Police and other departments within the Council to tackle these issues.

The Chartered Trading Standards institute’s Business Companion website provides the age restrictions that apply to the sale of products for businesses and retailers.

Proof of age

If someone looks under-age then they must provide proof of age. We recommend that you operate a THINK 25 policy. If you think a person looks under 25 ask for identification.

Legitimate proof of age identification includes:

  • a passport
  • driving licence
  • PASS-approved identification card

Reporting underage sales

If you have witnessed the sale of age-restricted products to minors, or believe a business is selling age-restricted products illegally, please report this to us at

All contact will be treated in confidence.