"Shops in the borough selling solvents need to be more vigilant to help prevent young people glue sniffing"; that is the conclusion of a recent survey carried out by Rochdale Council's Trading Standards Service. When they asked young people to visit seven local shops to buy three or four solvent based glues along with plastic bags, four shopkeepers sold them the solvents.
Rochdale Council's Principal Trading Standards Officer, Michaela Monk said: "I was surprised by how easily young people were able to buy solvents which can be lethal if inhaled. A number of shopkeepers did not seem to heed the warning signs, like young people buying plastic bags and solvents at the same time.
"Although the focus has shifted of late to the underage sale of alcohol and cigarettes, young people are still risking their lives by abusing solvents and shop owners need to remain vigilant."
Trading standards will be revisiting the shops that sold the solvents to give the owners advice on the warning signs.
Michaela Monk continued: "Shop owners can play a big part in reducing solvent abuse by making themselves aware of the warning signs. If they do not, they could be putting their businesses on the line. Owners found guilty of mis-selling solvents can face a fine of £5000 and up to six months in prison."
There were eight deaths from volatile substance abuse amongst the under 18s in 2005 bringing the total number of deaths of all ages since 1971 to 2,198.
If you suspect that a trader may be mis-selling solvents, contact Trading Standards at Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.