203An enforcement action plan aimed at keeping children safe from the harm caused by products including tobacco and alcohol is to be considered by councillors.

Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to consider an enforcement programme for 2016/17 which aims to prevent alcohol and cigarettes being sold to children.

As well as targeting shopkeepers who sell age-restricted products to underage people, the enforcement plan will also focus on how the county council, working with partners, will tackle the problem of illicit products which are often more easily sold and passed on to children.

The report to Cabinet also sets out actions which have been taken over the last 12 months, including test purchasing and operations to shut down sales of illegal alcohol and tobacco.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “We are committed to working with our partners to reduce the risk of children having access to harmful products.

“This report shows how, through an intelligence-led approach and using both education and enforcement, underage sales and supply are being tackled, especially in relation to tobacco and alcohol.

“Our proposed enforcement programme for 2016/17 is aimed at ensuring we continue to address these issues in order to protect young people and tackle the wider criminal issues surrounding these products.”

Cabinet will be asked to note the enforcement activity during 2015/16 and approve the proposed enforcement plan for 2016/17 when they meet next Wednesday (6 April) at 10am at the council offices in Spennymoor.