Seven shops have been caught out selling cigarettes, alcohol and fireworks to children.
More than a third of shops visited by volunteers aged 15 and 16 were found to be prepared to sell the products to under-age customers.
The investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards and Sussex Police found four shops in Worthing and three in Bognor operating illegally.
Trading standards officers said in some cases no questions at all were asked of the volunteers let alone requesting proof of age.
It is illegal to sell these products to those under 18 and Trading Standards supports the Think 25 policy encouraging traders to ask for ID from anyone who looks under that age.
Christine Field, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “What is an especially worrying development is the sale of fireworks to our volunteers.
“In the past this has proved very rare. However, in this exercise two shops sold both fireworks and cigarettes to the volunteer in the same purchase.”
Anyone suspecting a shop of serving under-age customers can report them anonymously on 0845 404 0506 or via www.westsussex.gov.uk by typing “incident reporting form” into the search bar.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Firefighters tackling major blaze in Brighton
- First step in £35million scheme for Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre
- Guns and machete found in pond by dog
- Pain cured on a limb and a prayer
- Trying to tackle loneliness