Shameful list of high street stores still dealing in death by selling knives
The Sunday People caught shops selling knives to under-18s just two days after an undercover Home Office probe shamed offending retailers.
We followed up with our own stings nationwide and our volunteers managed to buy a potentially lethal cache.
Our purchases on Friday came after a report by the Government and Trading Standards named and shamed Asda, Tesco, Poundland and Home Bargains as it exposed a shocking failure to halt sales.
It is illegal to sell a knife, blade or razor to under-18s and shopkeepers flouting the law face up to six months and unlimited fines.
But despite this and the damning report, we were sold knives at two Poundland shops, a Morrisons supermarket and a branch of Poundworld.
Caroline Shearer, who set up charity Only Cowards Carry after son Jay Whiston, 17, was killed in 2012, said: “It’s inconceivable. The irresponsibility of these big shops means people are dying.”
A 16-year-old volunteer bought a £1 retractable utility knife at a Poundland in Kenilworth, Warwicks, then a four-inch £1.50 paring knife from Morrisons in nearby Leamington Spa.
She said: “I was surprised how easy it was. I don’t think I look 18 and I definitely don’t look 25.
"At Poundland, I bought the knife with no questions despite it stating Challenge 25 on the packaging.
“He just scanned it and didn’t ask for ID or how old I was. When I got out I looked at the receipt, which says ‘Age Confirmed Over 18’.
"At Morrisons, the cashier didn’t ask how old I was. The only question I was asked was if I had a Morrisons card. It’s worrying.”
Our investigator John Siddle, overseeing visits in Warwickshire, said: “To see the way staff simply handed over these potentially deadly blades was horrifying.
"You might have expected retailers to be on high alert after the Home Office report but our findings suggest otherwise. It is clear a lot more has to be done.”
A Poundland and a Poundworld also asked no questions of a 17-year-old in Streatham, South London. His blades were bought close to where Lee Casey, 39, was stabbed to death a day earlier.
And our volunteer, who bought a £1 utility knife in Poundland, was also shocked as he lost friend Alex Smith, 16, in a knife attack in Camden last month. His receipt said the cashier checked for ID but they had not.
He said: “The guy took one look at me and the knife and laughed.
A good friend of mine died. It breaks your heart. To think I could buy a knife that could kill or hurt someone frightens me. Could I be next?”
Staff at the nearby Poundworld let him buy a £1.50 utility knife. Tesco Extra, a Sainsbury’s Local, Lidl and the Aldi in Streatham all said they no longer stocked knives. Argos was selling a block of five for £8 but asked our teen for ID.
Our volunteer in Kenilworth was refused sales at Sainsbury’s and Wilko.
In Huddersfield, West Yorks, a volunteer of 14 tried to buy cooking knives at 20 sites, including Wilko, Sainsbury’s, TK Max, House of Fraser, Morrisons and The Range. All asked for ID and refused sales.
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