This week 30 years ago: Islington Council using children as ‘bait’ to catch newsagents selling cigs

Islington Gazette: May 27, 1988

Islington Gazette: May 27, 1988 - Credit: Archant

Islington Council was planning to use young children as bait to entrap newsagents who sold cigarettes to under-age smokers.

Health bosses wanted to prosecute those who broke the law, but could only do so by catching them in the act. They were considering asking a “squad” of children to buy fags and see which shopkeepers sold them.

But councillors were concerned about the moral implications, and put off making the final decision.

Cllr Peter Rees said: “It is asking us to endorse a sort of juvenile entrapment.”

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy needed emergency brain surgery after thugs attacked him at Finsbury Park station.


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He had tried to help a friend who was being attacked, and was hit with a baseball bat.

And witnesses later claimed London Transport staff refused to call an ambulance, saying: “He’s not that badly hurt.”

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London Transport said it would investigate the claims.

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