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Shop Workers Fined for Underage Knife Sale

Shop owners in Waltham Forest are being reminded of their responsibility to prevent illegal sales of age restricted goods, after a store owner and a member of his staff were prosecuted and fined for selling a knife to two 15-year-old girls.

The sale was made in August at 123 Wood Street General Stores in Walthamstow, during a test purchase operation conducted by Waltham Forest Council Trading Standards. The two 15-year-old volunteers, who were supervised by Trading Standards officers, were able to buy a carving knife without being asked whether they were over 18.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment said: “Retailers need to understand that they have a responsibility not to sell age-restricted products to young people, and we shouldn’t need to remind them of the devastating consequences that the misuse of knives can have on peoples’ lives.”

Our Trading Standards team carries out a number of test purchases around the borough for items like alcohol, cigarettes and knives, and we will not hesitate to prosecute retailers for failing to take adequate steps to protect young people and prevent anti-social behaviour.”

The staff member who made the sale identified himself to Trading Standards officers as Mr Djaffar Sahraoui. He confirmed to the officers that he was aware that it was illegal to sell knives to anyone under 18, and explained that he had received verbal instructions from the owner of the business, Mr Djamal Labbaci, regarding the sale of age restricted products. However the business did not have any written training records.

The Council instigated prosecution proceedings against Mr Labacci of Heath Road, Hounslow and Mr Sahraoui, of North Birbeck Road, Leytonstone. The case was heard at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday 18 November, where both men were given credit for entering guilty pleas.

Store owner Mr Labacci was fined £350 and ordered to pay £250 in costs plus a £35 victim surcharge. Mr Sahraoui was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £250 plus a £30 victim surcharge.

It is the responsibility of all shop owners to ensure that their staff members are given training to avoid make the illegal sale of age restricted products. Trading Standards also recommends that shops operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy to avoid underage sales, and keep a ‘refusals register’ to record every time a member of staff refuses to sell an age-restricted item.

Note to Editors:

Both prosecutions were brough under Section 141(a) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) as amended by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996 and the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.

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