Sussex shops sell fireworks illegally in test purchases

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More than a third of shops were willing to sell fireworks, cigarettes and alcohol to teenagers in test purchases, West Sussex council has found.

Seven out of 18 shops sold the items to volunteers in an operation run by trading standards and Sussex Police.

West Sussex council said the sale of fireworks to the teenagers, aged 15 and 16, had been "a worrying development".

Councillor Christine Field said such sales used to be rare but two of the shops had sold fireworks to children.

Ms Field, West Sussex County Council's cabinet member for public protection, said in some cases no questions at all were asked of the volunteers.

She added it was illegal to sell the products to people aged under 18.

Traders have been encouraged to ask for ID from anyone who appears to be under 25, she said.

Investigations are continuing but sanctions that may be used against the shops include prosecution, loss of alcohol licences, and refusal of registration to stock and sell fireworks.

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