Former Cowley shop worker guilty of selling knife to teenager

A shopworker who sold a knife to a 16-year-old has pleaded guilty following a prosecution brought by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

On Monday 02 March, Mrs Resna Khatun, a former employee of Poundland’s John Allen Centre store pleaded guilty to two offences at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

The Court heard that on 25 July 2019, Trading Standards made a test purchase of a utility knife and a pack of replacement blades from the Cowley store with the assistance of a 16-year-old volunteer from the Fire Cadets.

Mrs Khatun was sentenced to pay a £390 fine plus a £39 victim surcharge and to pay £450 towards the County Council’s costs.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said:

Anyone selling age-restricted-products needs to be doing everything possible to make sure their staff are properly trained and confident enough to challenge people for proof of age and identity, when appropriate.”

“With tackling knife crime a priority for many areas, there is even more reason to be extra vigilant when making such sales.”

Head of Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, Jody Kerman, said:

We never take the decision to prosecute someone for an offence of this nature lightly. However, if a retail employee sells a knife to someone under-18 without making the necessary checks, then they need to understand that they are personally liable.”

From April 2018 to March 2019 Trading Standards services across England and Wales carried out 2,231 test purchases of knives with 344 stores failing to make the required age checks (15%). Over the same period, there were 5,149 hospital admissions due to assault with a sharp object and 47,100 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by police in England and Wales.

To combat this in Oxfordshire, Trading Standards will be providing business advice and conducting further test purchasing to ensure retailers and their staff are complying with the law. As part of ongoing Operation Sceptre, test purchasing and business visits will also be done by Thames Valley Police.

Retailers, whose staff sell knives to under-18s and who are not able to demonstrate they took appropriate steps to prevent the sale, can face unlimited fines. 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 to people under 18 should contact Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or by email: Trading.Standards@Oxfordshire.gov.uk