Stores caught selling knives to youth

New data from National Trading Standards reveals retailers failed to prevent the sale of a knife to a child on 344 separate occasions

WORRYING: Test purchases revealed that knives are still being sold to children

SUPERMARKET GIANTS including Tesco and Asda are continuing to sell knives to children, a new report from National Trading Standards has revealed.

Retailers have been urged to do more to prevent children from illegally purchasing knives. It is against the law to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18.

New data from National Trading Standards reveals that of 2,231 test purchases carried out in England and Wales between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019 at both independent stores and supermarket chains, retailers failed to prevent the sale of a knife to a child on 344 separate occasions.


Poundland, Home Bargains, Asda and Tesco sold knives to children at least 15 times each during the tests. Some retailers have taken action since the tests began to introduce new steps to help prevent the sale of knives to children.

In addition to the in-store purchases, Trading Standards also carried out 100 online test purchases. Of these, children were sold a knife on 41 occasions.

Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: “Restricting the sale of knives to children is clearly a difficult issue for retailers, especially those with large numbers of outlets, staff and delivery partners, and I am aware that many retailers are working incredibly hard to train staff and introduce robust procedures to stem the flow of knives to children.

“But let’s be clear – it’s illegal to sell a knife to a child. Our tests show that it’s still too easy for a child to buy a knife in store or online.

“We know that young people are being cautioned and convicted for knife crime offences, and as such I urge all retailers to do more. Do you need to sell knives? If you do, can you remove them from shelves and have them available either from a locked cabinet or via a specific till for customers, as already happens with cigarettes – where this is a legal requirement?

“Are your procedures and those of your delivery partners robust? Can you do more mystery shopping of your own to test how well your own processes are applied?”

Last year B&M was ordered to pay £480,000 in fines and £12,428 in costs after it was found to have sold knives to children.

Poundland announced that it would stop selling kitchen knives in all its stores in 2018.

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