Undercover agents wanted

Volunteers are needed to help Dorset County Council’s trading standards run test purchasing exercises.

Some products are age restricted to buy, such as cigarettes and alcohol. Trading standards are responsible for making sure retailers know all about these laws and do not sell these products to people under the legal age. One of the ways to check that this happening is by running test purchasing exercises.

This is when young volunteers go into shops or pubs ‘undercover’ to try and buy age restricted products. Trading standards will then advise or take action against sellers who are breaking the law.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said:

“Keeping residents safe is an important part of trading standards work. By helping us to ensure traders adhere to laws, young people can gain a unique experience into our work.”

Volunteers are collected from their home by a police officer or trading standards officer and they will take part in the exercise in another area of Dorset where they will not be recognised.

Test purchasing takes place in the evenings and during half term holidays and sometimes at weekends.

Volunteers are about 14 or 15 and look their age. There is no payment for their time, but they can put the experience on their personal statements.

Interested teenagers should email tradingstandards@dorsetcc.gov.uk with details of age, height and where they live.

Anyone interested who meets the criteria will be contacted by a Trading Standards Officer to arrange a convenient time to meet with their parent/legal guardian.  At this informal meeting it will be a chance to discuss the exercise further.