Faringdon retailer guilty of selling knife to teenager

A store in Faringdon whose employee sold a knife to a 15 year old has pleaded guilty following a prosecution brought by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards.  

Autofactor (UK) Ltd, who trade as Davis DIY, pleaded guilty to a single offence under S141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday 28 January 2022. 

The court heard that on 26 June 2021, trading standards made a test purchase of a Stanley utility knife from Davis DIY with the assistance of an underaged volunteer from the fire cadets.

The company was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000 and pay a £150 victim surcharge. The director of the company, Mr Karl Booth, was also charged in relation to this offence and was separately fined £500 and ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “Trading standards and the police are working together as part of Operation Sceptre to reduce knife crime across our region. To support this work, it is essential that businesses play their part and ensure that they take reasonable precautions to prevent such sales from happening.

“Anyone selling age-restricted-products must ensure all their staff are properly trained and confident enough to challenge people for proof of age when appropriate, and if necessary, refuse the sale.”

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, added: “We recognise that trading conditions for retailers over 2020/21 have been far from ideal but this does not absolve them of their responsibility in respect of underage sales. Before test purchasing takes place all stores are visited by trading standards officers and given advice about age-restricted products. They are also informed that test purchasing will take place in their area shortly.

“On this occasion, despite having over a year between the advice visit and test purchase to set up a system of precautions, plus an interim written reminder to do so, the store failed to implement any.”

Previous prosecutions by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards following failed knife test purchases in 2019 and 2020 resulted in three businesses being fined a total of £25,222.27, including costs.

Shop staff involved in the physical sale of knives to anyone under the age of 18 can also face unlimited fines and up to six months imprisonment.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of knives, alcohol, or cigarettes to people under 18 should contact Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards through Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.

Notes to editor

Image shows knives sold to trading standards’ test purchasers in 2019. It is a general illustrative image, and is not specific to the case described in this press release.

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