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Sunday 21st January 2018

Technology to spot young drinkers

13th May 2008

A Budgens supermarket has been fitted with technology which allows staff to prevent underage customers purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.


The decision by the chain is thought to have set a precedent, as no other retailer in the UK has used cameras to target children who attempt to make illegal purchases.

The cameras use facial recognition programmes which record measurements "between key points on the face".

The new device is currently in trial use at an unidentified Budgens outlet in London. The retailer has fitted three cameras in the store, which track people as they come to the tills.

The pictures are then transmitted to a Worcester control centre, where they are "automatically scanned against a database of images" of previous customers.

The technology will alert staff by recognising a customer who had visited the shop on a previous occasion and had not been able to prove they were over 18 years old.

Children and teenagers who are not flagged up by the system will be asked to give proof of their age and their information will be stored in the database for future use if they are unable to provide ID.

Charlie Willetts, managing director of Charton Ltd, which produced the technology, stated that around 1,500 images were in the database at present, but it could store nearly two million pictures.


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