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Ealing Council Trading Standards tackles underage selling of knives to children in undercover operation

Ealing Council’s trading standards department has revealed that a recent undercover operation has found that while most traders are not selling knives to under 18-year-olds there is still a number of traders breaking the law.

The Council’s trading standards team visited 10 shops in Ealing Broadway, West Ealing Broadway, Hanwell and Greenford as part of a “test purchasing” exercise with a 16-year-old.

The covert operation, sought to check if business owners were complying with the law, or whether they would sell age-restricted to adults-only purchases to children.

Out of the 10 shops visited, seven refused to sell knives to the 16-year-old with three allowing the purchase to be made. The Council is now considering whether to prosecute those who sold the knives.

Senior trading standards officer Mohammed Tariq, who led the operation, said: “When selling knives to underage minors, both the businesses and the person who physically made the sale can be held responsible. Operations like these are crucial in seeing how well certain businesses and their staff adhere to the law by simply asking for identification before allowing age-sensitive transactions to continue. The three premises that sold the knives to the minor will be considered for prosecution. They could risk six months imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said: “Whilst it is positive to see that the vast majority of traders were following the law and take their responsibilities seriously, this sort of operation shows that more traders need to protect themselves and the public by doing more to stop any such sales from their premises.”

Councillor Mahfouz added: “Thank you to those business owners who keep on top of such vital laws, but to those who don’t, let this be a warning that operations like this mean if you are tempted to break the law that: you will be found out and we will take action! I applaud the work of our trading standards team in holding businesses to account and keeping Ealing a safe place to live and work.”Ealing Council’s trading standards team has been carrying out undercover visits to businesses to make sure they are not selling knives to children. Encouragingly, almost all of the traders did not sell them.”

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