Independent retailers on tight budgets should take advantage of free training to help prevent underage sales, trading standards has told RN.

The advice came as the organisation said knives, tobacco and alcohol have been sold to children as young as 13 in London in the past 18 months.

Bharti Chavda, of Westminster Grocery in central London, told RN: “Local kids know we will demand ID. It’s important to train staff and build a sense of community to prevent these sales happening.”

Susie Child, regional coordinator at London Trading Standards, said independent retailers can use free resources to help tackle underage sales. “Enquire with your local trading standards department to see if they run trader training sessions. Some local authorities still run these free of charge.

“Retailers should seek advice on avoiding or diffusing conflict from their local council health and safety team,” she added. “With the right approach to refusals, risks can be reduced.”

Read similar: New initiative by JTI to stamp down on underage selling met with mixed reaction in Yorkshire NFRN district