|Undercover exercise prompts warning to sunbed salons
A warning is being issued to sunbed salons in Wigan Borough after an undercover exercise found children were illegally being allowed to use the facilities.
Wigan Council’s Trading Standards recently carried out the exercise which showed five out of 12 shops allowed a child to use the sunbed without asking for proof of age.
A 15 and 16 year old were used in the undercover exercise over the summer holidays.
It is a criminal offence to offer or allow a person under the age of 18 to use a sunbed.
Trading Standards is encouraging sunbed businesses in the borough to operate a ‘Challenge 25’ age verification policy.
The business owners are now being investigated and legal action may follow.
Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure and regulatory services at Wigan Council, said: “We were disappointed and alarmed at the results of our exercise.
“All salons have previously been advised to be vigilant and operate an age verification policy to stop children using the sunbeds illegally.
“We hope this reminds operators of their legal responsibilities and to check the age of customers so they help to protect our children and young people.
“We will be carrying out further undercover exercises across the borough.”
The local Public Health team have warned of the dangers of regularly using sunbeds, particularly to young people.
Professor Kate Ardern, the borough’s Director for Public Health, said: “Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
“However the risks are greater for young people with evidence showing that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk. While a tan can fade quickly, the long term damage is irreversible.
“We would encourage young people to use safer alternatives such as tanning creams or spray tans.”
If any salon owner in Wigan Borough would like information on the law relating to the use of sunbeds by under 18s, they should contact Trading Standards on 01942 827476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org