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Westminster Council wins court cases against two retailers for selling knives to children

Westminster Council’s trading standards team, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, have won separate court cases against two retailers for selling knives to children under the age of 18

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A picture of a knife sold to under-18s last year

Published: 22 April 2022

The council’s trading standards team improve standards of community health and safety and enforce the law relating to the sale of age restricted products by carrying out inspections, written guidance and campaigns with other enforcement agencies. Test purchases are also made with the assistance of young volunteers who are underage and are supported every step of the way by the team.  

On 18 August last year, a 13-year-old volunteer was instructed to attempt to purchase a knife from certain shops to identify traders who would make illegal sales.

The child was able to purchase a ‘Chefaid fillet knife’ in a store in Church Street without the person serving querying the age or requesting identification. The sale was witnessed by a police officer.

At the City of London Magistrates Court on 30 March this year, the company and its sole director pleaded guilty to selling a knife to a person under the age of 18.

The director of the company had been offered advice by trading standards on the prevention of knife sales to a person under the age of 18 just ten months before the sale occurred.

The company was issued a fine of £700 and ordered to pay costs of £400. The person who served the child was also fined £100 and ordered to pay costs of £85.

The following day, on 19 August, a 14-year-old volunteer attempted to buy a knife in another trading standards test purchase. In a separate court case on April 6, a shop assistant for the retailer based on Porchester Road, pleaded guilty to the sale of a ‘marksman folding lock utility knife’ to a person under the age of 18.

The company’s director failed to attend court. Extracts from an earlier interview with the director showed the company failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the sale of knives to minors. The company was issued with a fine of £1000. The person who served the child was issued with a fine of £200, a victim surcharge of £34 and was ordered to pay costs of £100.

Under Section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is a criminal offence to sell knives and certain bladed or pointed articles to a person under the age of 18.

Calvin McLean, Westminster City Council’s Director for Public Protection and Licensing, said:

These successful court cases show how important it is that we continue to work with both the police and trading standards to enforce the laws on prohibiting knife sales to people under the age of 18.

Test purchases by our trading standards team are carried out throughout the year to improve standards of community health and safety for visitors and residents.