A Norbury-based trader has become the borough’s first store owner to be handed a prison sentence for selling knives to underage customers.
Shakeb Hakime, of Norbury Discount Store, London Road, was sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail, suspended for 12 months, after admitting the offence at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Monday (12).
Additionally, he was ordered to perform 100 hours’ community service, and to pay costs of £7,144.00, and a victim surcharge of £80.
The court heard that, during a Croydon Council trading standards department test-purchasing exercise in October 2015, Norbury Discount Store had been the only shop, of seven visited, to sell knives to two 15-year-old volunteers.
A member of staff sold the £4.99 five-piece knives and scissors set without asking for proof of age or identity.
Hakime was previously convicted of a similar offence at the same premises in June 2014. He had taken no steps to prevent further under-age sales taking place.
Following that conviction, trading standards officers, in person and in writing, had invited Hakime and his staff on three occasions to attend free Do You Pass? training courses on the sale of age-restricted goods. Neither he nor his staff attended, nor were any in-store systems put in place to prevent further under-age sales from taking place.
Sentencing, District Judge Rana said: “Mr Hakime, as a shopkeeper, has a personal responsibility to prevent the sale of items to under-18s, and to ensure that his staff are properly trained.
“You were given the opportunity to attend free training, but you declined to attend or to send your staff to the free training, and you declined to put any system in place to prevent under-age sales occurring. You also failed to ensure that you had proper signage in place.
“Knives are extremely dangerous to those who are under 18. A custodial sentence is justified.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“It’s gratifying to see the courts taking the sale of knives to young people as seriously as is warranted.
“Knife crime is on the rise in London and we must do all we can to keep potentially lethal knives out of the hands of those young people who feel compelled to carry them.
“Traders have a heavy duty of responsibility here, and should take every step to ensure that they and their staff don’t help knives to get into the wrong hands.”
Traders keen to take part in forthcoming Do You Pass? training sessions can get further information at www.tradingstandards.uk/events/doyouPASS.cfm
Space is limited, so be sure to book early. The next sessions are on:
• Wednesday 25 January 2017 – 10am to 12.45pm; 1.15 to 4pm.
As indicated, the sessions run for approximately 2 hours 45 minutes, and include a 30-minute multiple-choice exam. These courses are offered free of charge and are available only to small or medium-sized Croydon-based businesses.
Unique to Croydon, the sessions will also feature a short presentation from Public Health Croydon entitled Protecting children and young people – everyone’s business.