An undercover investigation by a Trading Standards authority has exposed a number of retailers for selling mature games to a 14 year-old volunteer.
The operation, which took place last week, saw the volunteer attempt to purchase 18-rated video games across 16 separate retail outlets. According to Dundee Council, twelve of those shops allowed the teen to purchase adult games.
The investigation is part of a national exercise to examine the extent of the problem with under-age sales, and targeted a selection of BBFC 18 rated games for the teen to attempt to buy.
Only four retail outlets – Gamestation, Game, PC World and WH Smith – refused to sell the titles. The offending twelve have not been named, for now. The report adds that this major oversight came despite some cash tills operating with pre-programmed warnings to prevent such an offence.
The Video Recordings Act 1984 states that shops which sell 18-rated videogames to anyone below that age can face fines of up to £5000, and in some cases offenders could face up to six-months in prison.
“Given the previous good compliance record with attempted test purchasing of tobacco in Dundee, it is very disappointing that so many large retailers have ignored their own systems in regard to restricted video game sales,” said a Trading Standards spokesperson. “Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed, and we will be following up matters with the retailers involved.”
Dundee City Council environment services convener Councillor Jimmy Black applauded the four retailers that refused to sell to the underage teen, adding that the remaining twelve shops “place themselves at serious risk of further investigations by our officers.”