A shopkeeper based on the Isle of Dogs has been fined after a large bread knife was sold to teenage girls as a part of a test purchase operation.
Razzak Miah sold the knife to two undercover police cadets, aged 14 and 15, on 17 November 2018 at Docklands Halal Grocers in Castalia Square. The transaction was also witnessed by a trading standards officer working as part of a joint operation between the police and Tower Hamlets Council.
Knives are an age-restricted purchase: it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under 18 unless it has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less. Miah made no attempt to ask either the age of the girls or for any identification.
The 39-year-old appeared at Thames Magistrates Court on 18 July and plead guilty to selling a knife to a person under the age of 18. Miah argued that he was a friend of the owner and he had asked him to lend a hand at the shop as the usual worker was away on an emergency.
The Chipka Street resident was fined £130. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and legal costs of £85.
In a statement John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “This conviction is another example of our teams working closely with the police to make the streets of Tower Hamlets safer. This vital work helps to stamp out crime in the borough.”
Hussain Ahmed, Director of REH Investments Ltd, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company on 29 August.
The company was fined £158, as well as £1,561 in legal costs and a victim surcharge of £30.
Mr Ahmed told the court that following the incident he had implemented measures to prevent further issues from arising including an age challenge policy and a refusals log. He has also stopped selling knives in the shop.
Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Shopkeepers need to be aware that selling knives to children can have serious consequences. We also urge residents to support the police by reporting any knives found or seen on our streets.”
London Trading Standards Week (LTS Week) began earlier this week. Its aim is to teach consumers about their rights and raise awareness across the capital.
Throughout the week LTS will work with local councils to show the crucial role they play in preventing the illegal sale of knives to under 18s.
Trading Standards Director of Operations, Stephen Knight, said in a statement:“Local council trading standards teams police the business community and prosecute when criminal activity is uncovered. After a decade of cuts, we are often inadequately resourced to tackle every case, but teams work extremely hard and use shared intelligence to ensure the worst offenders are brought to justice.
“We play an important role in the fight against knife crime in the capital by rigorously enforcing the law against underage knife sales.”
If you have information about anyone carrying or using knives, contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.