An undercover operation by Croydon Council has led to two companies being fined a total of £18,305 for selling dangerous weapons to a 13-year-old.
Bright Associates Limited and Next Gen International Limited were fined £11,725 and £3,500 respectively for the offences. Both were ordered to pay costs of £1250 and a victim surcharge of £170.
In separate operations, a thirteen-year old attempted to purchase a knife set and an axe from the two companies on websites Wowcher and eBay.
On one occasion the website did not ask for his date of birth, and on the second he was able to buy the knives despite putting in his true date of birth.
Thirteen companies have now been prosecuted by Croydon Council for illegally selling knives online to children.
Both companies had been warned by letter that it was likely that their online purchase systems would be tested.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities said: “Our trading standards team is finding too many companies that sell knives or other potentially dangerous weapons online who are failing in their legal and moral duty to keep young people safe.”
“These cases should serve as a warning to individual companies and sole traders that they face prosecution and a fine if their sales checks online are not as stringent as face-to-face customer purchases.”
Knife crime in Croydon is a rising problem. In 2017, 201 people were stabbed; an average of four a week.
According to the Metropolitan Police, over ten thousand offences of ‘violence against the person’ were recorded in Croydon since October 2018. In September this year, three men were stabbed in one night in Croydon.
Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, which was established in 2008 after the murder of Ben Kinsella in Islington, said: “It is shocking to see that these retailers have failed to comply with the law and allowed these knives to be sold to children.”
“These are the types of knives that bring misery to hundreds of families each year. The seriousness of this offence should not be underestimated.”
“Croydon Trading Standards has done wonderful work in bringing these retailers to justice, but we need to see improved legislation to ensure that cases such as these are not repeated.”