Bestway trials age verification technology in Leeds

Bestway has partnered with Innovative Technology to pilot what it claims is the convenience channel’s first use of age verification technology.

The trial will run across three Bestway stores in Leeds until May and is part of a Home Office programme.

Developed by Innovative Technology, the technology is used worldwide and tailored to help retailers avoid selling alcohol and tobacco products to underage customers. And could potentially protect staff from abuse.

Read more: Interview: Bestway

Mike Hollis, retail director at Bestway Wholesale said: “We’re proud to be pioneering the use of age verification technology in our drinks led specialist stores. Staff abuse is rife in the convenience channel, with the Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 Crime Report highlighting that there were over a million incidents of verbal abuse and about 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores in the past year alone.”

“We surveyed staff in our three participating stores and the responses received showed that staff abuse, particularly when it comes to the refusal to sell alcohol, is a significant issue. All participants agreed that using technology could reduce staff abuse and we believe that using the ICU screen will act as a deterrent when it comes to staff abuse. It will also give retailers peace of mind and ensure that they avoid prosecutions, fines, or losing their license for the miss-sale of alcohol or tobacco products.”

Dr Andrew O’Brien, ICU product manager added: “We are delighted to be accepted into the UK Government Sandbox scheme and see all our hard work undertaken over the past few months come to fruition. Our team have liaised with local licensing authorities, local police officers and local councils to ensure our solution (ICU) is safe, legal and meets the criteria of the scheme. ICU age verification technology will now be piloted in several Bestway Retail stores in Yorkshire, and we will closely monitor our test sites to ensure we support the retailers’ and collate the relevant data throughout the trial.”

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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