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Free training for retail staff to prevent under-age selling

Thursday, 16th September 2010.

A new free training scheme is being offered to all retailers and their staff who sell alcohol and other age restricted products in Suffolk, and there will be sessions in Haverhill.

It is being run jointly by the council and the Co-op.

Suffolk County Council's Retailer Training Scheme will provide guidance on the law surrounding age-restricted products, an insight into what trading standards officers look for from businesses, practical guidance on how to avoid selling age-restricted products to under-age people and a view from the trade perspective.

The Haverhill sessions will be on November 18 and February 17 at Haverhill Fire Station.

The training itself will be interactive, allowing attendees the opportunity to actually have a go at recognising fake identification, experience live criminal interview techniques and examine actual footage of sales of alcohol to under-age children demonstrating how things can go wrong.

All attendees will also be provided with free training materials that will include age-restricted sales guides, staff questionnaires that can be used to for training, refusals books and several posters, shelf hangers and shelf sliders to display in their premises.

The scheme is being offered by the council's trading standards department in partnership with the East of England Co-operative Society and the Western Area Community Safety Partnership to help support and train staff of businesses in the west of Suffolk.

The scheme will initially only be available to small to medium-sized businesses in Mid-Suffolk, St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath licensing districts, and will be completely free to anyone who voluntarily attends.

Stuart Hughes, senior trading standards officer at Suffolk County Council, said; “We’ve done a lot of work with retailers across the county to make sure they’re aware of the consequences of selling age-restricted products to those who are under-age and this is the next step in ensuring Suffolk continues to be a safe county to live and work in.

“Working with the East of England Co-operative we’ve been able to devise a course which will teach those who are in charge of the sales to know what to do if they are faced with a situation involving a child trying to illegally buy a product which is age-restricted.”

Roy Begernie, environmental health, safety and compliance Ccontroller for the East of England Co-operative Society said: "As a responsible community retailer we welcomed the chance to work with and offer our expertise to Suffolk enforcers in what we believe to be one of the first partnership training initiatives of its kind in the country that targets underage sales in retail premises.

“We operate 136 supermarkets and food stores across East Anglia and have been pleased to share our first-hand knowledge and training resources with colleagues at trading standards to benefit other retailers in the region and also the communities where they trade.

“Following these initial courses we hope the scheme will be expanded across the East of England Co-op’s trading area and others will take our lead elsewhere in the country.”

Other available training dates are:
• September 30 – Bury St Edmunds Fire Station
• October 20 – Newmarket Fire Station
• December 9 – Bury St Edmunds Fire Station
• January 13 – Newmarket Fire Station
• March 17 - Bury St Edmunds Fire Station

To book on any of the sessions retailers should contact Trading Standards on 01473 264859 and ask for the available dates and venues for the Retailer Training Scheme.

Places available for each business will be limited to ensure every business has the opportunity to attend. Further sessions may be offered for other employees later in the year providing there is availability

Haverhill Online News

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