Retailers have condemned as “daft” new rules requiring them to check the age of customers wanting to buy Christmas crackers.
Regulations that came into force in August name crackers as a Category 1 firework. This means they cannot be sold to people under the age of 16 and that shop staff with doubts over a would-be purchaser’s age have to ask for identification.
Trading standards officers are now monitoring how retailers enforce the law. Stores face financial penalties, and individual members of staff can be fined up to £5,000 and given a six-month jail sentence for selling crackers to underage customers.
Commenting on the new rules, Jane Bevis, director of public affairs at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Busy shoppers with a lot on their minds will be understandably frustrated if they’re asked to provide ID to buy a box of Christmas crackers. It’s the health and safety rules which have gone crackers and not retailers themselves.
“No one wants children to be able to buy things which are dangerous or bad for their health, but extending rules for fireworks to cover the kind of bang provided by a cracker seems particularly daft.”