Inspection visits

We work with local businesses to help them comply with trading standards legislation. This includes inspection visits to trading premises:

  • helping you keep up to date with any changes in the law
  • identifying and resolving potential problems
  • checking compliance, for example, with age-related rules for selling alcohol and cigarettes
  • testing the accuracy of equipment such as weighing and measuring machines

The frequency of visits varies according to the nature of your business, how long you have been trading, and whether you have needed advice in the past. Most inspections are part of a routine inspection programme, but sometimes we visit because a complaint has been made, or we think an offence may have been committed.

What to expect

Our trading standards officers will tell you why they are visiting and what they find. They will give you a record of the inspection, including details of any items taken away and the results of any tests carried out. Where appropriate, you will be told how to appeal against a our decision or claim compensation.

What powers do trading standards officers have?

Officers can inspect and test weighing and measuring equipment and goods; ask you to produce computer information; and take photographs or make video recordings. If they suspect that an offence has been committed, they may seize and detain property for use as evidence.

Officers have the right to enter any premises (except when used solely as a private dwelling) at all reasonable times. They do not have to make an appointment or give advance notice of their visit, although they may do so if they consider it appropriate. It is an offence to refuse them entry.

If there’s a problem

We often deal with a breach of trading standards by discussion and advice in the first instance. We may put this in writing (a ‘traders notice’ which you’re entitled to request). We will always specify what is legally required and offer our advice on best practice.

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