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A 21 year old South Birmingham shop assistant received a police caution for offering to sell a kitchen knife to an under age mystery shopper.

As part of a joint test purchasing operation by West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council Trading Standards, a total of 11 shops  in Northfield, Selly Oak and Edgbaston were mystery shopped by two teenage volunteers on Saturday (Nov 9).

In one shop, the assistant failed to check for ID and illegally sold a three-inch kitchen knife to an under-18 teenager.  After being illegally sold the blade the teenager left the store and handed it over to waiting officers while colleagues and Trading Standards officials spoke to the shop manager and the member of staff.

Sergeant Suraya Latif, who led the operation, was pleased that the vast majority of retailers were challenging the under age volunteer.

She said: “Overall this was a really positive result and proves that our knife crime messages are getting through to traders across the city.

“Officers along with Trading Standards officials regularly visit shops to ensure they are aware of the law and are challenging people wanting to buy knives to prove their age.

“We are continuing to visit stores to ensure staff at every shop in Birmingham are aware that it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18.”

As well as possible legal action against the company, cashiers who are caught selling a knife to someone who is under 18 runs the risk of six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000.

A Trading Standards spokesperson, said: “I am pleased this operation has gone so well – it’s a positive result and shows these operations are not only important but also worthwhile. It is worth taking this opportunity to warn any retailer who fails in their legal duty, and believes it is okay to sell to under 18s – they will leave the council no choice but to prosecute.”

People can report people they suspect of carrying a weapon to police on 101. In an emergency, they should dial 999. Alternatively, those who do not want to speak with police officers directly can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information about West Midlands Police approach to knife crime visit: www.west-midlands.police.uk

If you are a young person with concerns about drug issues or violent crime you can visit the Fearless website

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