Knife sold to child in sting operation
AN Ely shop worker sold a potentially lethal 10-inch kitchen knife to a 14-year-old boy just a week after a nation-wide knife amnesty ended. The assistant at Thing-Me-Bobs in Market Street handed over the knife, with its six-inch blade, in a set of four f
AN Ely shop worker sold a potentially lethal 10-inch kitchen knife to a 14-year-old boy just a week after a nation-wide knife amnesty ended.
The assistant at Thing-Me-Bobs in Market Street handed over the knife, with its six-inch blade, in a set of four for the pocket money price of just 99 pence.
But the teenager was working undercover for Cambridgeshire's Trading Standards as part of a countywide operation.
The blitz on 20 stores found that a quarter were willing to sell knives to youngsters as young as 11.
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The disturbing news comes after a five-week knife amnesty in Ely turned up a variety of weapons from the city's streets.
Operation Bladestop was launched to coincide with a national amnesty and resulted in 571 knives being handed in across the division.
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Staff at all the shops which sold the blades to youngsters during the trading standards' operation have been warned about their actions by officers but no further action will be taken.
Malcolm Taylor, head of programmes for Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards said: "We are extremely disappointed that this many shops are selling knives to teenagers, especially when there has been so much publicity about knife crime.
"Any knife has the potential to be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. There is an upsurge in the use of knives by children in crimes across the country.
"We will continue to carry out operations to prosecute those who flout the law. We and the police have been working hard together to crack down on crime and we will continue to do so. "There is no doubt that we all have a duty to keep knives off our streets and out of the hands of youngsters and traders must play their part."
Thing-Me-Bobs manager, who asked not to be named, said: "We have a policy that we do not sell knives to children. This one slipped through the net and it was a genuine mistake.
"We always ask for identification before selling any restricted items and we have signs by the tills stating the age restrictions.
"All our staff and the area manager are attending Think 21 seminars run by trading standards to reinforce this message.