Crackdown on underage sales

Trading Standards, in partnership with Safer Neighbourhood police officers have carried out a series of checks, to make sure traders are not selling knives or fireworks to under-18s.

Teenage volunteers attempted to buy knives and fireworks in various hardware shops and supermarkets across the borough, during four different undercover operations in recent weeks. Overall the results were very encouraging and showed that the majority of traders are insisting on proper ID.

46 shops were visited. Out of 36 shops, only three sold a knife to a 15 year old volunteer and they now face further questions from Trading Standards, which may result in legal action. Two out of ten shops sold fireworks to an underage teenager.

Sergeant Alex Henshaw from Stoke Newington Central Safer Neighbourhoods team, said: "While knife crime on this borough is down by 21% this year, Hackney police cannot be complacent and will continue to work hard to drive it down even further. These operations are part of the raft of options we have and will continue to use. We will be working with our partners in Trading Standards to conduct more operations like this in the coming months across the borough."

Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “Trading Standards regularly carry out test purchase exercises in the borough, to check age-restricted items, such as cigarettes, spray paints, fireworks and alcohol are not being sold to under-18s. Traders need to know that not checking for proper ID is totally unacceptable. Wherever possible, the Council will press for the strongest possible action against those who do sell such items.”

Last year the legal age to buy knives was raised from 16 to 18. Traders who sell knives to under 18 s face a £5,000 fine or six months in prison.

In recent weeks trading standards have also carried undercover operations to check traders are not selling fireworks or cigarettes to under 18s. The results have been very encouraging, as no traders sold these items to underage teens.

Anyone with any queries about selling or buying age restricted items should contact Hackney Trading Standards on 020 8356 4929 for advice and information