A SHOPKEEPER has been fined for selling cigarettes to a 14-year-old girl.
Aftab Quayyum, who owns the Londis store on Ascot Avenue, Runcorn, pleaded guilty to selling a packet of 10 Silk Cut to the girl last July.
And the court heard Quayyum had previously been prosecuted for selling booze to an under-age teen.
On both occasions, he was caught in a sting operation run by Halton Borough Council and the police.
During the operations, children are sent to buy alcohol, cigarettes or fireworks.
If they are sold age-restricted products without the shop staff asking for identification, the owner is either warned about their conduct or prosecuted.
An employee of Quayyum's sold the cigarettes without asking the girl's age or requesting proof of age, Runcorn Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
He was fined £450. Magistrates were told he had been previously advised by Halton's Consumer Protection Service of the need to take effective measures to prevent the sale of age-restricted products to children.
The advice Mr Quayyum received warned him the Consumer Protection Service would be undertaking test-purchasing exercises.
Consumer protection manager John Downes said: 'We are making it quite clear to all traders that if they fail to comply with the law, they will face prosecution.'
'The service arranges advisory visits by officers and sends out newsletters and information packs to all premises selling age-restricted products.'
* Anyone with concerns about a trader or needing advice on any consumer problem can contact Halton's Consumer Protection Service via Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.