TOO many shops in Blackburn with Darwen are still selling cigarettes and tobacco to under 18s, the latest figures show.

In the first nine months of 2012/2013, 23 per cent of retailers targeted by under-age sales investigators for test purchases sold such products to undercover youngsters.

Last year just 7.5 per cent of such operations resulted in illegal sales.

Borough neighbourhoods boss Arshid Mahmood said: “Tackling under-age sales of tobacco has been a priority to try and reduce the high rate of smoking amongst children in Blackburn with Darwen – 21 per cent compared to the regional average of 15.”