Merton sharpens up on knife sales

Merton Council has recently prosecuted a sales assistant in the borough for illegally selling a knife to a teenager.

Wimbledon Magistrates Court convicted Mrs Nadia Salih of London Road, Morden, for the offence of selling a knife to a person under the age of 18 years, sentencing her to a 12-month community order. Mrs Salih was ordered to pay costs of £200 and will have to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work under the supervision of the Probation Service.

The prosecution follows a knife test purchase operation in the borough organised by Merton Council’s trading standards officers in October 2008. During a borough-wide under-cover operation, Mrs Salih was caught selling a kitchen knife with an eight-inch (20cm) blade to a 15-year old boy. The operation was carried out by the council with the help of volunteer police cadets aged between 14 and 16 years who posed as youngsters wanting to buy the knives.

All part of the council’s drive to bring down illegal knife sales, this comes hot on the heals of convictions last month when two other shop assistants were found guilty of selling knives to underage children.

Merton Council cabinet member for environment and leisure services, Cllr David Simpson, said: “We are continuing to take a tough stance on the sale of knives to youngsters. People selling items over the counter must take responsibility for what they sell and to whom otherwise it could cost them dearly, as in this case.

‘If there is ever any doubt over a customer’s age, it is better to be safe than sorry and refuse the sale. Recent high profile murder cases involving knives have brought illegal knife sales to the forefront of all our minds. We are determined to put Merton residents first, and successful operations like this help keep our young people safe.”

Merton Council cabinet member for community safety and engagement, Cllr Henry Nelless said: ‘Although we are one of the safest boroughs in London, we are continually working towards a safer Merton and practical operations like this resulting in successful prosecutions make absolutely clear that we will not tolerate illegal knife sales.’