A boy of 16 was sold alcohol and cigarettes by three Tyneside stores as part of an undercover investigation by Sky Tyne and Wear.
Our video journalist accompanied the teenager while he visited ten off-licences in Newcastle and Gateshead as part of our report into underage sales.
Trading Standards officers say they will now keep a closer eye on the stores involved.
The boy bought a pack of 10 cigarettes at Bargain Essentials in Shields Road, Byker.
When he approached the till, he asked for the cigarettes and the shopkeeper asked him: “Are you 18, mate?”
He replied: “No, I’m 19.” The shopkeeper then asked him for identification but the boy said no.
The shopkeeper then handed over the tobacco product before saying to him: “Remember to bring it next time.”
When approached by Sky Tyne and Wear, a man claiming to be the manager said: “I asked him for ID but he said he was 19 and I believed him. I told him to bring the ID next time.
“From now on I will make sure that I ask for ID.”
Our teenage volunteer successfully bought four cans of lager and a pack of 10 cigarettes at the Nisa Local store in Coastworth Road, Bensham, Gateshead.
When he approached the female member of staff, she did not ask him how old he was or for any identification.
After leaving the store, the boy said: “I can’t believe how easy that was.”
When hearing about the sale, store manager Jafoor Kapoor told us: "We are very careful. I’ll have to look into this incident.
“When the council tested us three times in the past six years, we always passed.
“When Camelot have done the test, we have passed every year for the past six years."
The boy, who turned 16 in December 2011, also bought four cans of lager at the Liquor Mart, also in Coatsworth Road.
The man claiming to be the manager told Sky Tyne and Wear that the boy looked 18 and his store had also passed every test purchase by the local authority.
Newcastle Trading Standards manager Dave Ellerington said: “We will be interested in any intelligence we get from any source, and do our own test purchases in those premises to ascertain what the situation is and if we indeed do get a sale then we will take appropriate action, and launch a criminal investigation against the retailer.”
The North East has some of the highest levels of alcohol consumption and misuse in the country.
Health campaign group Balance says the region continues to be a major concern with excess alcohol consumption putting a huge strain on the region’s NHS services.
Meanwhile, recent figures suggests smoking kills more than 10 people every day in the North East and costs the region’s economy more than £210m.
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Although fewer young people are drinking alcohol, those that do are drinking more and more needs to be done to protect them.
“Local licensing teams work hard to prevent people under the age of 18 from buying alcohol, however this investigation shows that instances can still occur.
“One of the growing issues we face is that most children acquire alcohol through their parents and other adults. This is why it is vital that we highlight the damage that alcohol can cause young people.
“Consumption of alcohol at a young age can have a devastating effect on physical and mental development and can lead to a range of health issues."
More from News
- Boss Faces Jail After Swan Hunter Shipyard Worker Is Killed By Falling Girder
- Northern Chords Festival Brings Best Of The World's Classical Talent To Gateshead
- Shoe Mirror Peeping Tom Caught 'Perving' On Woman At Swimming Baths
- Residents’ Heartbreak As Sunderland Estate Floods Again
- Extra Police Patrols After Woman Is Raped Near Newcastle College
- Lance Armstrong's Life Story Trampled Underfoot In Newcastle
- LIVE BLOG: Flood Alert For Newcastle Quayside And Severe Weather Warning
- LIVE BLOG HTML: Flood Alert For Newcastle Quayside And Severe Weather Warning