A legal loophole which allowed pornographic and violent films to be sold to children has been closed by the Government’s Video Recordings Act.
The legislation was moved quickly through Parliament and means retailers who sell adult films to children can now be prosecuted.
An error during the passage of a 1984 Video Recordings Act made the law unenforceable.
This was because the then Conservative Government failed to notify the European Commission about the legislation.
Since the error emerged in August no prosecutions for the sale of 18-rated material to children have been able to take place.
In August the Liberal Democrats said the error had “thrown film censorship into chaos”.
But a spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The important thing is that we close this loophole as quickly as possible.”
“No one should see this as a green light to act unlawfully. We will continue to prosecute breaches vigorously once this technical loophole is closed,” she added.
Earlier this month Tory leader David Cameron attacked the sexualisation of children.
He slammed advertisers and shops for treating children like adults, during a talk to left leaning think-tank Demos.
Mr Cameron warned businesses and advertisers that unless they stopped sexualising children they risked being regulated.
He said: “Children today are being sold the idea that the path to happiness lies through excessive consumption.”
Mr Cameron added: “The premature sexualisation of our children has already gone way too far.
“There is way too much arbitrary violence in the lives of children too young to understand irony or fantasy.
“Businesses have got to understand that parents don’t like it and want it to stop.”
In August research was reported that showed nearly all 14 to 17-year-olds will have been exposed to hardcore pornography at some point because of the ease with which it can be accessed online.
In the same month a Daily Telegraph columnist said T-shirts with slogans such as “So Many Boys, So Little Time” should be banned because they sexualise children.
The columnist was responding to comments made by a director of a centre for rape victims who had said suggestive clothing and explicit music videos are putting children at risk by changing what they deem unacceptable.
In 2008 the NSPCC warned that children are being sexualised by magazines, television programmes and dolls for five-year-olds dressed in fishnet tights.