Illegal online knife sales to children have led to three more businesses being fined thousands of pounds under a Croydon Council-led pilot nationwide clampdown.
At Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on two separate dates, the three companies were fined a combined total of £25,000 plus court costs after they each sold a knife online to a 13-year-old volunteer underage test purchaser working for Croydon Council’s trading standards team. In all cases, the companies had not carried out enough checks to make sure that the buyer was over 18.
To date the council has now carried out eight prosecutions since June as part of its trading standards team leading a nationwide pilot clampdown backed by the Home Office and National Trading Standards against online knife sales to children.
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.
On Tuesday 17 September, magistrates sentenced Technophobia Communications Limited, of High Street, Hythe, Kent, trading as Legend Cookshops via www.legendcookshop.co.uk, to a fine of £12,000, court costs of £2,200.60 and a £181 victim surcharge for selling a 12-centimetre Acero utility knife to a 13-year-old on 16 January, which was delivered to a Croydon address in late January. The council had sent the company an advance letter on 14 November to say an online test purchase was likely. The court was told the company had failed a previous test purchase in 2014 carried out by North Yorkshire Trading Standards.
Also at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court on 17 September, Fishers Catering Limited of Thornhill Industrial Estate, Grimston Bar, York, was ordered to pay an £8,000 fine, court costs of £2161.40 and a victim surcharge of £181 for selling a Sabatier all-purpose knife on 9 January to a 13-year-old underage test purchase volunteer visiting www.fisherscateringsupplies.co.uk. An advance warning letter was also sent on 14 November 2018. The knife was delivered to an address in Croydon in mid-January.
On Thursday 12 September at the same court, Hertfordshire-based Ronnie Sunshines was found guilty of selling a Morakniv companion knife online via www.ronniesunshines.com to a 13-year-old underage test purchase volunteer. The sale took place on 28 November 2018 – two weeks after staff at Ronnie Sunshines had been sent an advance letter by Croydon Council warning an online test purchase was likely. The knife was delivered to an address in Croydon on 4 December. The gunsmith and bushcraft specialist company, of Canalside in Northbridge Road in Berkhamsted, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £4,000 and a £170 victim surcharge.
“Knife crime devastates young lives, and all businesses have a responsibility to follow the law and prevent the illegal sale of knives to children. These latest prosecutions demonstrate how our excellent trading standards team is leading a nationwide clampdown against these illegal sales.
“Just as a shop must refuse to sell a knife to a child in person, these cases underline the fact that companies across the country need to do much more to stop these illegal sales online – or risk prosecution themselves.
“In Croydon we’re taking a public health approach to tackling violence and I urge all businesses – whether operating in store or online – to play their role in preventing knife crime and protecting our young people.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities