Council wants action on knife sales

Under-age knife sales will be checked through a system of using under 16s for test purchases in Suffolk.

Under-age knife sales will be checked through a system of using under 16s for test purchases in Suffolk.

The practice was backed today at a meeting of the county council's cabinet.

A similar approach will be employed to keep a check on whether retailers sell alcohol or tobacco products without guaranteeing the buyer is old enough.

Some use is already made of the system, which one councillor said officers were not entirely comfortable with.

Joanna Spicer, the council's portfolio holder for public protection, said the method was the only realistic way of catching traders who were selling illegally.

“The process is not something that everybody is inherently comfortable with,” she said. “But you cannot just wait for children to come out with alcohol and tobacco and ask how old they are.”

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Eddy Alcock said keeping control over knife sales was critical in keeping them out of the hands of youths.

“With sales of tobacco and alcohol, quite often it is friends or family who are passing on cigarettes or drinks to people who are too young to buy them themselves,” he said.

“But I can't see that being the case with knives and so controls on how they are sold are important.”

Mrs Spicer said a recent series of test purchases in Suffolk saw to three out of five tests leading to successful purchases - including two from major department stores.