A CHIP shop has been caught selling illegal cigarettes to children.

Following a tip off from a resident that a chip shop in Atherton had been selling cigarettes to school children, Trading Standards conducted an investigation in early July.

They used a 16-year-old, female volunteer who entered the chip shop and was sold a pack of cigarettes.

Trading Standards then returned to the premises and discovered fifty packs of illegal cigarettes in the shop’s kitchen.

Some of the cigarettes are thought to be counterfeit and officers suspected that they were being sold individually to make them more accessible to children.

Clr Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for Wigan Council said: “Firstly I would like to thank the members of the public who are supporting us to help protect children in the borough from this kind of activity.

“Children and other vulnerable residents of the borough are usually targeted by people selling illegal cigarettes.

“Reporting illegal activities such as these to Trading Standards enables them and Wigan Council the opportunity to safeguard the young and vulnerable in our communities.”

The owner of the premises is now being investigated for both underage sales and illegal tobacco offences.

“It is of great importance that illegal tobacco products are stopped from reaching residents of the borough, the dangers of smoking are common knowledge and encouraging children to take up smoking is irresponsible and dangerous,” Clr Anderson added.

“Let this be an example to individuals who are choosing to commit these crimes that Trading Standards and Wigan Council are committed to tackling this issue in order to protect the children of Wigan.”

A spokesman for the council said they were unable to name the chip shop at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

To report illegal sellers to Trading Standards in confidence, call 01942 827476, email ts@wigan.gov.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.