99p turns into a £3,000 fine

Local business fined for selling x-rated dvds to 15-year old boy

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A company that runs 99p stores has been fined after staff in their Acton and West Ealing stores were caught selling 18 rated dvds to a 15-year-old boy during a council sting operation.

99p Stores Ltd pleaded guilty at Acton Magistrates Court earlier this month to supplying two dvds - one at each store – and was fined a total of £3,000.

Ealing Trading Standards Officers sent in the boy to establish whether the retailer would sell to youths trying to purchase age-restricted goods.

The boy was able to purchase the films without being asked his age by the sales assistants, who had been too busy and had merely scanned the items without checking the classification, the court heard.

Mr Rosewarne, the health and safety officer for the company, gave evidence on how seriously the company had taken the matter and gave details on new procedures on staff training and in store publicity to avoid it happening again.

He said he was also looking into automatic till prompts to alert cashiers serving customers with age restricted videos and dvds.

Anne Hodges, the council’s service head for trading standards, said: “As a means of enforcing age restricted legislation, we routinely make test purchases using young persons to replicate normal trading conditions. Where sales are made we take the appropriate enforcement action necessary to ensure future compliance.”

February 14, 2006