Young volunteers wanted to help monitor age restricted sales

Young volunteers wanted to help us monitor sales of age restricted products in Croydon.

We use young volunteers to monitor the sales of age-restricted products.  This involves a young person under controlled conditions trying to buy cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks or knives from local shops.

If you are aged between 14 to 16 years old and would like to know more, Please email us at:

Frequently asked questions

What does the volunteer have to do?

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.

How long do operations last and how often do they occur?

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.

What do the volunteers get out of it?

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.

What are the transport arrangements?

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.

If the shop owner has committed a criminal offence, does this mean the volunteer will have to attend court?

We have procedures in place to reduce the risk of a volunteer attending any court appearance. However there is always a chance that a volunteer may be called to give evidence.
Procedures include:

  • During a home visit our officers will need to take photographs of the volunteer and a copy of their birth certificate.

  • Photographs will be taken of the volunteer and used in proceedings should a sale take place.

How old should the volunteer be?

We usually use volunteers between 14 to 16 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.

Will the volunteer be sent into their local shop?

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.

How do volunteers sign up?

Please email us at:

Under age sales - We Want You leaflet (3 MB)

Trading Standards

Trading Standards, Croydon Council
Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk
Croydon CR0 1EA
United Kingdom