B&M is fined record £480,000 after selling knives to four teenagers at bargain store in east London
- It is illegal to sell knives measuring more than three inches to under 18s
- A 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were able to buy a set of four sharp knives
- B&M was fined for each separate incident, with costs and a statutory surcharge
Bargain superstore B&M has been ordered to pay a record £480,000 fine after repeatedly selling knives to children as young as 14.
The discount chain was caught in an undercover operation by police and trading standards officers in an area which is rife with knife crime.
It is illegal to sell knives measuring more than three inches long to anyone under the age of 18.
Yet a 15-year-old boy and a girl of 14 were able to buy a set of four ‘very sharply pointed’ knives at a B&M in Redbridge, north east London, in September last year, a court heard.
Picture of knives children were able to buy in B&M stores in Barking, Dagenham and Chadwell Heath
Two days later at another branch in nearby Barking, a 16-year-old boy bought a three-piece knife set.
At the same store in January this year, a boy aged 14 successfully bought three knives.
A judge at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court criticised B&M for its ‘deficient’ systems which allowed youths to buy blades including a large carving knife unchallenged.
District Judge Gary Lucie: ‘The stark fact is knife crime is at record levels across the country, particularly in London.
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‘Clearly these offences were not deliberate. However, it appears that while systems were in place, they were deficient.’
He said it was concerning that the stores had not put in place measures to prevent such instances from occurring in what it accepted were ‘high-risk areas’.
The store said it would now consider storing knives in cabinets away from youngsters.
B&M Retail pleaded guilty in June this year to three counts of selling knives to under-18s. The company was fined for each separate incident. With costs and a statutory surcharge, it brought the total amount to just over £492,500.
A judge at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court criticised B&M for its ‘deficient’ systems which allowed youths to buy blades including a large carving knife unchallenged
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