Store fined for knife sales to boy

PUBLISHED: 16:58 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 12 August 2010

BOSSES at a retail chain have apologised after selling knives to under-age children. Poundstretcher said it had failed in selling the potential weapons to a 15

BOSSES at a retail chain have apologised after selling knives to under-age children.

Poundstretcher said it had "failed" in selling the potential weapons to a 15-year-old boy at its Orpington and Croydon stores in an operation set up by trading standards officers.

The company pleaded guilty to two offences of selling knives to under-age children at Croydon Magistrates Court on May 29. It was fined £2,000 on each count, as well as £1,049 in costs.

The court heard that the store sold an eight-inch chef's knife to the boy in its Orpington High Street store on October 31 last year and at a later date in Croydon.

A spokesperson for Poundstretcher admitted the company was aware of the knife crime problem in London, adding: "It is a failure at a store level but we have in place various measures at a corporate level so that this doesn't happen.

"If someone tries to buy an age-restricted product then a prompt asking if that person is of the required age comes up on the till.

"On this occasion there was a failure to do that for whatever reason.

"It is up to the individual sales operative. The member of staff has been subject to an internal disciplinary procedure."

Working alongside trading standards officers, the teenager bought the knives as part of a regional operation in which Bromley council sent him into 24 stores, resulting in five knife sales. Other traders received formal cautions.

Councillor Colin Bloom said: "It's important retailers understand the need to be vigilant around age-restricted goods, especially knives.

"Further campaigns of this nature are being planned by the trading standards team this year and in appropriate cases the trader will be prosecuted. The level of the fine is a good indicator as to how seriously the courts view this incident."

In December last year, a 16-year-old Orpington College student was stabbed in High Street in daylight. His attackers had previously tried to buy a knife from Sainsbury's but had been refused.

The death toll of fatal teen stabbings was 28 by the end of 2008.

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