COUNTY trading standards has re-launched a training package for businesses to help them stay the right side of the law when selling goods to young people.

COUNTY trading standards has re-launched a training package for businesses to help them stay the right side of the law when selling goods to young people.

The 'No Proof of Age - No Sale' campaign is aimed at ensuring under-age people are not sold alcohol or a range of other goods, including knives and tobacco products, for which recent changes in the law have raised the age limit.

National statistics estimate that over 50 per cent of 15-year-olds drink alcohol. Half of all firework injuries involve children. Over 2,000 people have died from solvent abuse in the last 30 years. A quarter of 15-year-olds are regular smokers.

In a recent exercise in Barnstaple by trading standards and the police, four out of five pubs visited sold alcohol to under-age volunteers.

The training package is on a computer CD which contains an updated film, staff training booklets, posters and other materials designed to ensure staff do not make illegal sales.

Peter Greene, Fair Trading Manager for Devon County Council's Trading Standards Service, said: "There is clear evidence that businesses continue to illegally sell age restricted products to children. To help prevent these sales from continuing, we want businesses to use our free CD to train their sales and door staff. The key message is simple: if someone looks under 21, ask for valid ID before making a sale. It is critical that sales staff understand their responsibilities in these situations and this pack is designed to help them avoid making illegal sales."

Many businesses now adopt a policy of asking for proof of age from anyone who looks as though they may be under 21. This could be a photo driving licence, a passport, or a photo ID card and it is this type of policy that is being encouraged.

Devon County Council Trading Standards Service is mailing a free copy of the training package to all local businesses who sell age restricted products early in the New Year.

Anyone who wants a copy now should call the Devon Trading Standards Helpline (01392) 381381, or e-mailing them at tsadvice@devon.gov.uk