I’m not allowed to buy something

  • Age restrictions are in place on buying some things to keep you safe and protect your health
  • People who sell age restricted products to you are breaking the law
  • There is no other legal reason why you can’t buy things, and you shouldn’t be treated unfairly for any reason

Your rights are important to keep you safe. Other people, other children and adults, also have rights to keep them safe. One way the government in Wales (and in the UK) tries to keep everyone safe is to limit the sale of things that can be dangerous. This means that you have to be a certain age before you can buy some things. This includes things that can be dangerous to you and your health and wellbeing, and also things that you could use to harm other people.

Although there can be age restrictions on buying some things, you shouldn’t be treated unfairly for any reason if you are trying to buy something that is not age restricted.

There are age restrictions on some products to protect your health and well-being, and to keep communities safe. Some products, like cigarettes and alcohol, are recognised as being very harmful to everyone’s health. Some, like knives or fireworks, can be used to disrupt life for other people and cause harm. There are laws in place that mean shops are not allowed to sell these products to people until they have reached a certain age. In some cases, there may be other restrictions too, as well as an age restriction.

Yes. The people who sell these products are usually responsible for checking how old someone is before they buy one of these age-restricted products. They will be breaking the law if they do sell to you.


There is no other legal reason why you should be stopped from buying something. You may have traditional rules or values linked to your culture or religion that mean you shouldn’t buy certain things, but unless these are age restricted, the law in Wales won’t stop you from buying them.

Cigarettes You have to be 18 to buy cigarettes in Wales.

 Pets You have to be 16 to buy a pet without an adult.

Lottery tickets You can’t buy a lottery ticket until you are 16

Fireworks You have to be 18 to buy most fireworks

To find out about other products and services which are age restricted in law, go to our ‘When Can I…? section

The people and organisations that sell these products are responsible for making sure that you are old enough to buy them. If they sell you something when you are not old enough, they will be breaking the law. The Local Authority is usually responsible for making sure that age restrictions that are in place because of a law are being respected. Age-restricted products usually have the age restriction on them, or signs and information about age restrictions will be displayed by the products where they are for sale.

In some cases, an older person who buys something and then gives it to you, will be committing an offence.


You have the right to have information about what you can’t buy, and why you’re not allowed to buy it. If there is a danger involved in any activity, the person or organisation providing the service has to be very clear about what the rules are and the risks involved. If you are allowed to do something when it wasn’t clear that it would not be appropriate for someone of your age, the organisation could be breaking the law, and might be prosecuted. Even if it is not prosecuted for breaking the law, it might have been negligent if you are hurt.

You can carry a document like a passport that proves how old you are. If you don’t want to take your passport around, or don’t have a passport, you can get a proof of age card through the PASS scheme which will confirm that you are over 18.

Although the responsibility is on the person or organisation providing the service to make sure you are old enough, if you pretend you are older than you are to buy something, you might also be breaking the law. You will be committing fraud if you use a false ID to pretend that you are older than you are to buy something. This could mean you get into trouble with the police.

Depending on what you have, it may be confiscated from you. If you have alcohol in a public place, it can be taken away from you. If you are searched because the police think you have something that you shouldn’t have, like a weapon, this can also be confiscated. In some cases, you could end up in trouble with the police.