Undercover operation checks if knives sold illegally

Ealing Council’s trading standards team has been carrying out undercover visits to businesses to make sure they are not selling knives to children. Encouragingly, almost all of the traders did not sell them.

The ‘test purchasing’ exercise involved a 16-year-old visiting 10 premises in Ealing Broadway, West Ealing Broadway, Hanwell and Greenford. The operation was used to check business owners were complying with the law and, in this instance, checking they were not selling knives to children under 18, when they should be age-restricted to adults-only for safety reasons.

Seven of the 10 traders refused the sale of knives.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said “Whilst it is positive to see that the vast majority of traders were following the law and take their responsibilities seriously, this sort of operation shows that more traders need to protect themselves and the public by doing more to stop any such sales from their premises.”

“Thank you to those business owners who keep on top of such vital laws, but to those who don’t, let this be a warning that operations like this mean if you are tempted to break the law that: you will be found out and we will take action! I applaud the work of our trading standards team in holding businesses to account and keeping Ealing a safe place to live and work.

“Our trading standards team do a brilliant job in advising and enforcing laws with businesses which has helped us to continue to keep this level of compliance across the borough.”

Senior trading standards officer Mohammed Tariq, who led the operation, said: “When selling knives to underage minors, both the businesses and the person who physically made the sale can be held responsible. Operations like these are crucial in seeing how well certain businesses and their staff adhere to the law by simply asking for identification before allowing age-sensitive transactions to continue. The three premises that sold the knives to the minor will be considered for prosecution. They could risk six months imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.”

If you know of any retailers in your area that you suspect could be selling age restricted items, tell us in confidence by using our online reporting line here.

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