Published: Monday, 21st May 2018

A store which sold a knife to an underage youngster has been ordered by a court to pay more than £3,500.

Pound Mart Ltd in Woolwich town centre was prosecuted for selling a knife to a 15-year-old police cadet in a covert operation run by Royal Borough of Greenwich Trading Standards Officers and the Metropolitan Police.

The teen was able to successfully make the purchase of the knife without any form of age check or proof of identification being requested despite the fact it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18.

The store in Woolwich New Road was ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, £1,350 in costs and a surcharge of £170 after pleading guilty at Bexley Magistrates Court on Monday 14 May. Pound Mart Ltd gave reassurances it has now tightened up its procedures for the sale of knives and told the court it proposed to cease stocking and selling blades in the future.

Operation Sceptre

The store was netted in an operation carried out by Council and Police officers last September in which six stores around Woolwich town centre were visited. The action took place as part of the Met Police's ongoing London wide Operation Sceptre to crackdown on knife crime.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich Trading Standards Officers also work closely with London Trading Standards to reduce knife crime across the capital by conducting underage test purchase operations and promoting the responsible retailing of knives.

'I hope this sends a strong message'

Councillor Jackie Smith, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said: "I hope this case sends a strong message that we take a zero tolerance approach to the illegal sales of knives and other bladed items to youngsters.

"With the back drop of the shocking rise of knife crime and tragic loss of young lives across London it is more vital than ever that shops do all they can to prevent potential weapons falling into the hands of youngsters.

"Due to the upward trend in knife crime across the Royal Borough, in line with the rise across London, our joint work with the police on our Knife Crime Action Plan is now our top priority. We are committed to taking a multi–faceted approach to tackle both the root causes and devastating consequences of knife crime."

'Knife crime remains a complex issue to deal with'

Chief Supt Simon Dobinson, the Greenwich Borough Commander, said: "I am encouraged to see positive action taken as a result of this work carried out by my team in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

"Knife crime remains a complex issue to deal with and requires a mixed approach to tackle the causes as well as the outcomes. Robust enforcement of the sale of knives demonstrates just one of the ways that we can help reduce the risk to young people."