A NEW website has been officially launched that will help Lancashire retailers who sell controlled products like alcohol, tobacco, knives and fireworks to avoid selling items to people who are under-age.

Lancashire County Council’s due diligence website will provide retailers with useful pointers on how to check a customer’s age. It was launched earlier this week at the Bluebell Way SPAR store, Bowland View Distribution Centre in Preston.

“In the past, we gave retailers a computer disc and a DVD to explain the law on who they can sell controlled products to,” said County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member responsible for trading standards.

“But after consulting retailers, we have launched a password-controlled, interactive website where they will be able to keep up-to-date with the law as well as download useful documents.

“I am confident that retailers will find that this new website is user-friendly and it will assist them to reduce and prevent underage sales of controlled products like alcohol and tobacco.”

Once the website is up and running, 8,000 retailers will receive a password that will allow them to access the www.agecheck.co.uk.

Resources including a video for download and easy-to-use documents such as a poster will now be available online.

County Councillor Atkinson said: “Ensuring that these controlled items don't end up in the wrong hands is a high priority for us.

“I am therefore delighted that, thanks to funding from the Department of Health, we are able to offer the resource to a further 22 Trading Standards authorities in the region.”

Chief Superintendent Bill McMahon, from Lancashire Police, said: “We welcome any measures that can help to reduce the sale of alcohol, tobacco, knives and fireworks to children. The website will be a valuable tool for retailers in helping to ensure these items don't end up in the hands of young people.

“When sold to underage children, these items can put both the youngsters themselves and our communities at risk.

“We will continue to work closely with both retailers and local authorities to ensure that everyone is meeting their responsibilities when it comes to preventing these sales.”