RETAILERS are being advised to adopt stricter knife selling procedures after an undercover operation discovered six-inch blades were being sold to children as young as 11. The investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards was carried out just one week
RETAILERS are being advised to adopt stricter knife selling procedures after an undercover operation discovered six-inch blades were being sold to children as young as 11.
The investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards was carried out just one week after the end of the nationwide knife amnesty.
Officers found a quarter of Cambridgeshire stores visited willingly sold knives to youngsters.
Out of 20 visits, five stores sold knives to children under the age of 16. In St Neots that figure was three out of five.
The three stores in St Neots were Barretts, B&Q and Tesco.
Knives bought included five-inch steak knives, a Stanley knife and craft knives.
Malcolm Taylor, head of projects at Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, said: "I am extremely disappointed that so many stores sold knives to youngsters.
"It is clear that there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done. My advice to shopworkers would be that if in doubt you should adopt the 'challenge 21' policy by asking their age and then asking for identification."
Staff at the shops who sold knives were spoken to by Trading Standards officers and warned about their actions.
B&Q and Tesco have now launched a full investigation into the incident and Barretts is reviewing its procedures.
Alan Huckle, a director of Barretts Ltd, told The Hunts Post: "We do have procedures in place to stop knives being sold to youngsters. But we have been informed by trading standards that our procedures were found wanting and as a consequence of this we are currently reviewing our procedures to prevent anything like this happening in the future."
INFORMATION: The punishment for selling a knife to a child under the age of 16 is a £5,000 fine and/or six months in prison.