A retailer has cast doubts over government plans to introduce the sale of pornographic passes into convenience stores as a way of protecting under-18s from viewing harmful content online.

Under the proposals, internet service providers will be forced to block access to online pornography unless a 16-digit code can be provided. The code can be purchased at any participating retailer once proof of age is provided with a driving licence or passport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) had been set to launch the scheme in April, but this has been delayed to the end of the year to allow for more consultation. But, a spokesman said DCMS expects age verification would be enforceable by the end of this year. 

However, Sarj Patel, of Pasture Lane Stores in Loughborough, told RN retailers offering the service could gain a negative reputation. “I doubt it would work because nobody wants the awkwardness of asking for access to porn at a shop.

“Retailers would be reluctant because they’d gain a negative reputation if customers found out they were selling something associated to porn. I would not see much demand for it, as I stopped selling pornographic magazines a few years ago.”