Revealed: Eight out of ten North Yorkshire shops sold a knife to a 16-year-old

Some of the knives collected by North Yorkshire Police's amnesty bins.
Some of the knives collected by North Yorkshire Police's amnesty bins.

Eight of 10 North Yorkshire retailers sold knives to a 16-year-old, in a recent test purchase survey by North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Police.

In a joint test exercise , the authorities said only two retailers in the county refused the sale when an undercover 16-year-old police cadet attempted to purchase a blade.

NYCC and North Yorkshire Police work together to ensure that retailers abide by trading standards and regulations, including that which states knives may only be sold to those aged 18 and over, and with appropriate age identification.

A criminal offence is committed if age-restricted products are sold to minors.

Councillor Andrew Lee, the NYCC’s executive member for growth, planning and trading standards, said: “Retailers have an important role to play in ensuring our young people cannot access potentially dangerous products and we urge North Yorkshire retailers to comply with their legal and social obligations.’’

In the same week, North Yorkshire Police collected 221 bladed items from amnesty bins located at various stations across the county.

The collections bins are an opportunity for owners to voluntarily give up the weapon without identifying themselves and were set up as part of Op Sceptre - an operation to reduce knife crime in the county.

The week-long operation saw everything from standard kitchen knives to hunting knives and swords handed in.

Trading Standards is now inviting retailers to work with them to achieve a new Responsible Retailer award, which recognises those who follow under-age sales legislation.

For more information on the Responsible Retailer scheme, call David Miller on 01609 534 810.