Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Cigarette retailer fined 2,000

The shopkeeper sold cigarettes to a 15-year-old test purchaser

A retailer in Renfrewshire has been hit with what is believed to be the biggest ever fine in Scotland for selling cigarettes to under-age customers.

Paisley shopkeeper Shakti Gindha was fined £2,000 for selling cigarettes to a 15-year-old girl who was working as a test purchaser for trading standards.

He unsuccessfully claimed the girl had, on an earlier occasion, used a proof of identity card to buy cigarettes.

Two other retailers were fined during the Renfrewshire Council operation.

Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council's environment and infrastructure policy board, said: "In 2007, we were shocked when an undercover operation saw 80% of the Renfrewshire shops we visited sell cigarettes to our 15-year-old test purchaser.

"Our tough enforcement action has seen that figure fall to 17% and this fine will drive home the message that selling cigarettes to children is not acceptable."

In 2009 test purchases were made in 75 Renfrewshire shops, with 13 retailers caught selling cigarettes to an under-age test purchaser.

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