Knife sold to child during Rochdale Council undercover operation

Picture courtesy of Rochdale Council

An investigation into a Rochdale business is under way after a kitchen knife was sold to a child during an undercover operation.

The business, which cannot be named as investigations are currently ongoing, allowed a 17-year-old volunteer to purchase the knife without questioning their age or asking for identification during an exercise run by Rochdale Borough Council.

The council was carrying out a test purchasing exercise, visiting 20 premises over two days with 17-year-old volunteers.

The volunteers entered the businesses without identification and attempted to buy knives and e-liquids for e-cigarettes. Another business sold an e-liquid to one of the volunteers without asking for identification.

All businesses tested had been sent a letter with advice on age-restricted products one month before the tests were carried out. The purpose of the tests was to evaluate what actions businesses take to prevent underage sales.

Full investigations will now be conducted into the two premises and appropriate action will be taken.

The e-liquid that was sold, cropped

Councillor Sara Rowbotham, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The public protection team do an excellent job of ensuring that businesses across the borough are taking their responsibilities seriously.

“Businesses have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of our young people and we will make sure those who don’t are held accountable.”

For the sale of the knife, covered by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996, the trader can face a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison.

For the e-liquid, covered by The Nicotine Inhaling Products Regulations 2015, there is a maximum fine of £2,500.

This test purchasing exercise is part of a council crackdown on underage sales. The council regularly tests licensed premises and retail outlets to prevent dangerous age-restricted products such as alcohol and tobacco being purchased by children.

Rochdale’s public protection team encourages traders to ask for photographic ID from anyone who appears to be under 25 years old. A sale should only be made once ID has been produced that proves a customer is over 18.

Residents with concerns about any suspected sales of any age restricted products to children should report it via the confidential Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.


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