An undercover sting has caught a Gisborne shop repeatedly selling cigarettes to a minor.

The store was one of three in Gisborne found to be selling cigarettes to minors during an annual operation by Macedon Ranges council.

Community safety manager Anne-Louise Lindner said it was disappointing to find retailers breaking the law.

“Retailers must understand that selling cigarettes to children under 18 is unacceptable,” Ms Lindner said.

The sting involved an under-age teenager visiting 23 tobacco retailers within the shire and attempting to buy tobacco.

Three shops sold cigarettes to the teenager during the February operation. All three received official warnings.

Ms Lindner said one store sold tobacco to an under-age teenager again during a follow-up operation in April, and was fined $621.

She said traders are legally required to ask for identification from customers trying to purchase tobacco if they look younger than 25.

“It isn’t always easy to tell how old a person is, so traders must ask for identification from any person who may be under 25 to avoid penalties,” she said.

Concerns about retailers selling cigarettes to children should be reported on 5421 9670.