Prosecution for Knife Sale to Teenager

Mr Belkheir Belhag, employee and Mr Alhaj Zengl, owner of the Pound Plus store on Chatsworth Road were each fined £1,250, plus legal costs of a combined total of £750 at Thames Magistrates Court on Wednesday 7 January 2008, for selling a twelve centimetre knife to a 14 year old volunteer.

Before Christmas, Hackney Trading Standards and the local Police Safer Neighbourhood Team carried out a series of knife test purchase visits, using underage volunteers as part of Operation Blunt 2. Overall traders were found to be acting responsibly but a small minority sold knives to young people, and they now face legal action. In one incident an underage volunteer was sold a machete.

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Hackney Council’s Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration said: “Selling knives to underage teens is a very serious offence. It’s extremely irresponsible. Our Trading Standards officers will always act decisively when traders are found breaking the law in this way. Clearly the courts take it very seriously as well.”

Trading Standards officers in Hackney regularly inform licensees of their responsibilities under the law. In 2007 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.

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