Underage Sale Volunteers frequently asked questions
- The volunteer needs to enter a specified shop and attempt to buy a specified age-restricted product (e.g. alcohol or tobacco), whilst supervised by an officer from Trading Standards.
We will usually pair up volunteers for operations, but there may be occasions when volunteers are asked to take part in an operation on their own.
The operations usually last between 5 to 7 hours. It depends on whether the operation is undertaken during an evening or daytime (weekends or school holidays).
They take place throughout the year but are not a regular occurrence.
- The scheme is unpaid but will lead to a certificate that participants can use in a record of achievement.
The nature of the activity will also help with improving a volunteer’s confidence and give them valuable experience in an operational environment. Refreshments will be also provided, including an evening or lunchtime meal, as appropriate.
- The volunteer will always be collected by appropriate officers, from home or an agreed location. The officer will then return the volunteer to home or the agreed location.
We have procedures in place to reduce the risk of a volunteer attending any court appearance.
- During a home visit our officers will need to take photographs of the volunteer and a copy of their birth certificate.
- At the start of each operation a video brief and photographs of the volunteers will be taken.
We usually use volunteers between 14½ to 16½ years.
We aim to give the businesses a fair test, so volunteers who look a lot older than their age may not be suitable. We will assess this during the home visit.
- Unfortunately we only have a short window of time to conduct operations. This means that we tend to ask volunteers who live closer to certain office locations to take part more often. Volunteers will ideally live in or near to the following areas:
We still consider volunteers outside of these areas, so people outside these areas should not be put off signing up.
- Stoke (including the wider Stoke on Trent area)
- Blythe Bridge (including surrounding villages)
- We will not ask volunteers to take part in operations where they are likely to be recognised. For this reason, it is important to specify any areas where this may be the case in the application process.