Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

Media Opportunities for National Consumer Week

Monday 10th November 2003 see the start of this year’s National Consumer Week, the theme being Community Safety.

Each year West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service run events to promote and educate consumers, this year the Service is concentrating on the community wide issue of under age sales.

Underage sales is a growing problem, it is particularly prevalent at this time of the year, with firework sales accounting for the majority of the complaints received by the helpline. Age restricted products being sold to minors can lead to a number of other anti-social behaviour problems, and this is something that the Service is committed to tackling.

The events planned for National Consumer Week are as follows:

Monday 10th November 2003 - Retail inspections will be taking place in and around the Bradford and Keighley area. A Trading Standards Officer, accompanied by Councillor Malcolm Slater, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Services Committee and a Police Officer will be visiting retailers and advising them on their responsibilities in relation to selling age restricted products.

Tuesday 11th November 2003 - Proof of Age Partnership visit at Brigshaw High School, Allerton Bywater, Leeds. Attending on the day will be Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, along with officers from the Education and Promotions Team at West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

Wednesday 12th November 2003 - Proof of Age Partnership visit at Minsthorpe College, Pontefract. This visit will be promoting the Proof of Age Card which has recently been introduced into the Wakefield area. Attending will be Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, and officers from the Education and Promotions Department at West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service.

Both the above visits are linked into the National Curriculum subject of Citizenship, and focuses on the rights and responsibilities of young people in relation to alcohol, fireworks, cigarettes etc. This is in preparation for issuing this year’s proof of age cards, linked to the Proof of Age Partnership, aimed at creating the culture amongst retailers of NO CARD – NO SALE when faced with youngsters attempting to buy age-restricted products such as alcohol and cigarettes.

Thursday 13th November 2003 - The new Minister for Employment Relations, Competition and Consumers, Gerry Sutcliffe MP, visits West Yorkshire Joint Services headquarters, to find out more on the work of Trading Standards, Archaeology, Archives and Scientific services. During his tour, he will visit the Consumer Helpline, which will hopefully be expanded shortly as part of the government initiative Consumer Direct, creating a regional consumer advice service.

Friday 14th November 2003 - Officers will be conducting formal test purchasing involving alcohol products. Any retailer found selling alcohol to Trading Standards test purchasers will be dealt with in accordance with the Service’s enforcement policy.

It is anticipated that National Consumer Week will raise awareness of the problems related to underage sales, and encourage members of the public to notify the Consumer Helpline where they have witnessed the sale of age restricted products to minors. West Yorkshire Trading Standards are working with local authorities, linking into their strategies to combat anti-social behaviour.

Notes to the editor

Photo opportunities will be available on the following days:

Monday 10th
Tuesday 11th
Wednesday 12th
Thursday 13th

Unfortunately due to the nature of the operation being undertaken on Friday 14th, photo opportunities will not be available.

For full details of the event, and to register your attendance please contact Carol Hallett on the number listed below.

Proof of Age Cards

This scheme was initially trialled in the Leeds area, and has since been adopted by Wakefield and is shortly to be introduced into Calderdale. The schemes main objective is to ensure that retailers use the “No card, No Sale” approach on age restricted products. All school children nearing the age of 16 are issued with a card which can then be used to prove their age.

Contact Details

Carol Hallett – General Media Contact 0113 3836 407
Helen Andrews – Education & Promotions Officer 0113 3836 433