A Fallowfield-based business has been hit with more than £2,000 worth of fines after a shop assistant was caught selling a knife to a 14 year old child in January 2019.
The teenager was a volunteer in a Home Office scheme in partnership with Manchester City Council which involved under-aged customers attempting to purchase knives to test stores’ adherence to the law which requires knives to not be sold to persons under the age of 18.
When the teenager told the seller he was only 14, the shop assistant replied “don’t tell anyone” and proceeded to sell the child a £2 utility knife.
Both the shop assistant and owner of Super Pound hardware store on Hart Road have been ordered to pay over £2,000 worth of fines for their failure to ensure knives were not being sold to minors at the store.
Speaking on the matter, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said: “For the sake of £2, these men have a criminal record, and have racked up fines and costs running into the thousands of pounds. I hope this gets the message across that we are prepared to take decisive action to stop the flow of knives onto our streets, and ensure the safety of our communities.”
Between late 2017 and early 2019, 72 test purchases, similar to the one at Super Pound have been carried out in shops across Manchester. 12 of these stores were caught selling knives to minors resulting in four prosecutions, with £8,215 being collected in fines.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, stressed the responsibility of shop owners to prevent knives being sold to young people: “The law is 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. These sentences show that selling knives to underage customers does not pay – retailers risk hefty fines for the sake of one-off sales. More importantly, we know that young people are getting involved in knife crime offences, and as such I urge all retailers to do more.”
Councillor Akbar added: “Getting knives out of the hands of young people is one of the most pressing issues of the times we are living in. A knife has the power to devastate families and communities. We have to continue our work to educate people on the consequences of using a knife, but also the consequences of selling a knife. The work that we have done over the past year will galvanise the efforts of the Council and our partners in the months to come.”