The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has revealed that children are getting their hands on 18-rated video games by buying them at online auction sites.
An investigation carried out by Trading Standards Services at six local authorities in Wales found that nearly 90 per cent of traders tested supplied violent games to youngsters.
"This survey shows how easily children can gain access to age-restricted, violent video games," said Lee Jones, acting head of Trading Standards at Bridgend County Borough Council.
"Traders who use auction sites and accept postal orders as payment have no method of determining whether the person they are selling to is aged 18 or over. "
As part of the investigation, each authority enlisted a volunteer aged between 12 and 16 to carry out a total of 44 test purchases of 18-rated video games such as Manhunt and GTA IV on the internet using postal orders.
Despite the penalties that traders can face, which include a fine and up six months in jail, 38 of the attempts were successful.
"Traders selling goods over the internet have a responsibility to make sure they have methods in place to avoid breaking the law by making underage sales," said Brandon Cook, lead officer for age restricted sales at the TSI.
"If traders cannot be sure that the person they are selling to is over 18 they should not be selling."
The TSI said that, while traders are responsible for the sale of games, parents and guardians have an important role to play in making sure that children are not playing unsuitable video games.
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