Three shops fail knife test purchase operation

Published: Friday, 21st September 2018

Three shops in Stoke-on-Trent are under investigation after selling knives to 15-year-old boys.

The retailers in Shelton, Longton and Fenton were caught breaking the law during a Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards operation yesterday (Thurs), as part of Staffordshire Police’s Operation Sceptre.

The test purchase operation involved sending two underage volunteers into a total of 11 shops across the city to see if they could buy knives. It is illegal to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18.

While eight of the shops visited correctly refused sale, the children were able to buy a Stanley knife, a set of paring knives and a kitchen knife from three retailers without being asked for identification. The shops have been notified and investigations are under way.

Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “The results of the test purchase operation are disappointing. It’s absolutely vital that retailers in the city have measures in place to prevent underage sales of knives. Staff should be properly trained to prevent knives getting into the hands of children.

“We are committed to working with organisations such as Staffordshire Police to combat the problem of knife crime, and will be taking appropriate action against the retailers who failed the operation.”

Operation Sceptre is a week-long operation, supported by police forces across the country, to educate young people about knife crime and deter young people from carrying knives when out and about.

Superintendent Ricky Fields, strategic lead for knife crime at Staffordshire Police, said: “The work by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s trading standards team shines a welcome light on those retailers willing to ignore the law. To continue this good work we will be working with partners to enhance standards and training in stores across the city to prevent knives falling into the wrong hands.”

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.