Shops get knife sale message

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TOUGHER policies from shops mean knives are now less likely to end up in the hands of Mansfield children, Trading Standards say.

Officials have revealed six Mansfield stores were caught selling blades, including axes, to a 16-year-old boy in a sting last June.

But all six shops passed a second test purchasing operation in February, leading councillors to say the tactics are helping to stamp out the problem.

Following last summer’s operation, representatives from retailers that had sold a knife illegally met with Trading Standards and police.

Retailers were shown how a knife attack had affected one teenage victim of knife crime and were also taken through steps needed to ensure staff do not make underage sales.

It is illegal to sell a blade to anyone under the age of 18. Anyone doing so risks a fine and possible prison sentence.

Officials declined to identify the Mansfield shops involved in the tests.

“This is just one example of how county council Trading Standards has identified a serious problem for our community and acted to help resolve it by working with local retailers,” said Coun Mick Murphy, cabinet member for community safety at Nottinghamshire County Council.

Ch Insp Steve Payne, in charge of policing in Mansfield and Ashfield, said: “While the results of the initial test purchase operation last summer were disappointing, it is extremely reassuring to find the retailers who failed then have taken steps to improve not only their security, but also their procedures when it comes to challenging customers’ ages.”