Action by London Trading Standards has seen two national retailers convicted of selling knives to children. It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18.
In Dagenham a Poundstretcher store was ordered to pay almost £13,000 in fines and costs in July after being found guilty of selling knives to a 15-year-old girl. Romford Magistrates heard that the shop, in Merrielands Retail Park, sold a £2.99 knife set to the teenager during an undercover test purchasing operation by Barking & Dagenham Trading Standards last year.
In Croydon a similar operation was conducted by Croydon Trading Standards last year and a Poundworld store in North End sold a kitchen knife to two 14 year old volunteers. The company, Poundworld Retail Limited, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs and surcharges of £4,520 after being found guilty by Croydon Magistrates in May 2016.
These prosecutions come as London Trading Standards continue to support the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Sceptre – an ongoing campaign against knife crime. As part of the campaign Trading Standards expertise in underage test purchasing is being used to check retailers do not sell knives to anyone under the age of 18. Last year nearly half of London’s 33 Trading Standards Authorities took enforcement action following failed test purchases.
Dligent retailers should operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy when dealing with age restricted products. This means anyone who looks under the age of 25 should be asked to prove they are old enough to buy the product in question by showing appropriate proof of age.
For more details on London Trading Standards and underage sales see our information pages.