Shopkeeper fined for selling cigarettes to children at Knights Express, Tooting
12:50pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in News
A Tooting shopkeeper has been prosecuted for illegally selling cigarettes to teenagers despite being warned about a similar offence just weeks earlier.
Nadarajah Muruganandarajah, who runs Knights Express, in Mitcham Road, sold the cigarettes to a 16-year-old girl a fortnight after being reprimanded for selling a ten-pack to a 15-year-old boy.
He was caught earlier this year during a council-led test purchasing operation at several shops in the borough.
Initially he received a verbal warning from a trading standards officer after he sold cigarettes to the 15-year-old without asking his age or for ID.
Two weeks later, officers returned to his Mitcham Road store and observed as another trained teenage test purchaser was able to buy cigarettes without being challenged over her age.
Houda Al-Sharifi, director of public health at NHS Wandsworth, said: "The law was changed to make it difficult for young teenagers to buy tobacco as a way of limiting their access to cigarettes because the earlier a person starts to smoke, the greater the health risks."
On September 25, at Richmond Magistrates' Court, he was fined £140 and ordered to pay a fine of £316 after admitting two offences of selling tobacco to a minor.
The penalty will remain on his record for five years and if further offences are committed the business could face sanctions which would prevent it from selling cigarettes entirely.
It has been illegal for anyone to sell tobacco to minors under the age of 18 since October 2007.
If you suspect a shop in the borough is selling cigarettes to youngsters notify trading standards on 020 8871 7720.