Trading standards officers from Gloucestershire County Council are “disappointed” in the number of shops found to have sold vapes to underage buyers.

Trading standards carried out test purchase operations, supported by the police cadets, in the last week of May. The volunteers went to 21 stores in total, in the Forest.Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, and the Cotswolds. 

They were sold a nicotine vape from four different shops and no one questioned their age or asked for identification.

The retailers that did not sell to the underage volunteers had received advice in the past about sales to under-18s and the majority asked for ID from the volunteer.

In total there were five sales of vapes to the volunteers, meaning that 76 per cent passed and 24 per cent failed.

Trading standards will write to the shops that failed advising them that a sale took place and reminding them of their legal responsibilities. A further survey will take place later in the year and if they fail again they could face prosecution.

Jason Poole, acting head of trading standards at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Although only four retailers sold to someone under 18, one is too many. If they are found selling again in the follow-up operation they may find themselves subject to an investigation which could lead to prosecution.”