An ongoing nationwide pilot clampdown by Croydon Council against illegal online knife sales to children has landed two more companies with thousands of pounds in fines.
A 13-year-old volunteer underage test purchaser for Croydon Council’s trading standards team was able to buy an axe for £7 and a set of kitchen knives for £11.98 online from two companies using third-party retail websites eBay and Wowcher.
As a result of its trading standards team leading a nationwide pilot scheme backed by National Trading Standards, Croydon Council has now carried out 13 prosecutions against businesses for illegally selling knives online to children.
At Camberwell Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 19 November, Bright Associates Limited, of Wickham Road in Croydon, was ordered to pay a fine of £11,725 plus court costs of £1,250 and a victim surcharge of £170 for selling an £11.98 six-piece knife set to the teenager on 27 February 2019 via www.wowcher.co.uk. The teenager was able to buy the knives and scissors set even though he entered his true date of birth as part of the online sale process.
At the same court on Tuesday, Next Gen International Ltd, of Constance Street in east London, was ordered to pay £3,500 plus costs of £1,500 and a victim surcharge of £170 for selling an Am Tech Axe to the volunteer test purchaser on 20 March 2019 via the platform website www.ebay.co.uk. In this case, the 13-year-old underage volunteer test purchaser was not asked to enter a date of birth when buying the axe online.
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996, it is illegal to sell a knife, knife blade, razor blade or axe to anyone under 18.
The court was told that the council had sent advance warning letters to both Bright Associates Limited and Next Gen International Ltd that a test purchase attempt was likely.
“By leading this excellent groundbreaking nationwide pilot, our trading standards team is finding too many companies that sell knives or other potentially dangerous weapons online who are failing in their legal and moral duty to keep young people safe.
“These cases should serve as a warning to individual companies and sole traders that they rightly face prosecution and a fine if their sales checks online are not as stringent as face-to-face customer purchases.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities