Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

NO CARD? NO SALE! PROOF OF AGE HITS WAKEFIELD

A new scheme to prevent the illegal sale of age-restricted products such as alcohol and cigarettes is to be launched in the Wakefield district from 8th April 2003.

The Proof of Age Partnership was piloted in the east Leeds area by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service and has been an unqualified success. The numbers of illegal sales of alcohol, cigarettes and other age-restricted products has been drastically reduced in this area since the Partnership was launched.

Also, the Police statistics in the pilot area show that Youth Nuisance Calls have dropped from 4600 in October to 2200 in January 2002. Whilst the Partnership cannot claim full credit for this reduction, it is clear that the opportunities that youngsters have to purchase alcohol have been significantly reduced, thereby cutting the number of instances of anti-social behaviour and youth nuisance so very often associated with alcohol consumption.

The success of the pilot means that the Partnership is now beginning its roll out programme across West Yorkshire, beginning in the Wakefield district.

All secondary schools across the Wakefield district will be visited and cards will be issued to those pupils aged 16-18 with their photograph, date of birth and date when they turn 16 and 18. All retailers of age-restricted products will also be visited by Trading Standards Officers with the aim being to foster a “no card, no sale” culture.

Many retailers in the pilot area have commented that having the schools on board increased their confidence that youngster’s dates of birth are correct and that every youngster old enough to purchase legally will have been issued with a card.

Discounts at supermarkets, leisure centres and shops are planned to encourage the youngsters to carry the card with them at all times.

Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, said:

"We are very pleased to be working with other agencies, including Trading Standards and the Police, to introduce this important Proof of Age scheme in the District. It has been successful elsewhere and I am confident that it will be a big success in the District. It will help retailers by taking a positive step to stamp out illegal sales of age-restricted products like alcohol, cigarettes and fireworks and help young people by giving them an easy way of proving their age when they are entitled to buy these products.”

"The Council is fully behind this scheme which falls within our budget priorities for the coming year because it has a direct impact on community safety and anti-social behaviour issues."

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chairman of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee added:

“I am delighted that the West Yorkshire Proof of Age Partnership is coming to Wakefield. I hope that it will be as much of a success as in Leeds and we will see a reduction in the number of under-aged youngsters being able to purchase age restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco and fireworks. A big thank you must go out to all our sponsors who help to ensure that the Partnership continues to be a success”

For further information please contact

Carol Hallett Education and Promotions Officer: 0113 3836407

Graham Hebblethwaite: Divisional Manager and Media Contact: 0113 2898218

Notes to editors

There will be a photo opportunity at 10:00 on 12th February at Castleford High School with Councillor Peter Box, Councillor Graham Clarke, representatives from West Yorkshire Trading Standards and school pupils.

The official launch of the West Yorkshire Proof of Age Partnership in Wakefield will be at The Jungle, home of Castleford Tigers at 11:00 on Tuesday 8th April.

Anyone wanting to report traders who they suspect are selling age restricted products to children should telephone the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 0113 3848848