Online grocers are failing to check for identification while delivering alcohol and cigarettes thanks to the need for socially distanced deliveries.
According to new research conducted by retail age-check company Serve Legal, the number of teenagers being asked for ID at doorsteps has dropped 15 per cent since April.
The research suggested that the rise in retailers using third party delivery companies, such as Deliveroo, to meet a spike in demand was partly to blame.
It also suggested that rushed delivery drivers and efforts to maintain social distancing while carrying out deliveries were contributing factors.
Serve Legal also conducted audits of third party courier companies in the UK, finding that just 20 per cent of 18 and 19 year-old mystery shoppers were asked for ID when buying restricted items.
“There has been an increase in partnerships between retailers and delivery companies recently and performance is worse in general by these third- party companies,” Serve Legal’s director Ed Heaver explained.
“As new entries to the online age-restricted sector, they may not have the established processes that larger online retailers and supermarkets have and, with a focus on ease and speed of service, their societal responsibilities to preventing youth from gaining access to products and the law may be overlooked.
“Retailers need to be careful as there is potential for reputational damage.”
In response to the report Deliveroo, which now delivers orders for Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Co-op, said it had “robust and strict” practices in place to ensure no underage shoppers were sold restricted goods.