Undercover swoop catches Northampton shops selling knives and an axe to under-18s
Police operation follows spate of stabbings involving teens in the town
Three Northampton shops have been fined for selling potentially deadly weapons to under-18s following an undercover operation by Northamptonshire Police.
Officers employed volunteers from the county's Emergency Services Cadets to attempt to buy knives and bladed items from 12 stores across the town last weekend.
Nine shops refused but three failed to stick to regulations over selling bladed articles to under-18s and the teenagers were allowed to walk out with items including an axe.
Staff at all three shops were given words of advice and all agreed to a conditional caution and a £50 fine. The stores were also referred to local trading standards teams for follow-up checks.
The checks by Northampton's Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) were part of a crackdown by the force on a spate of recent stabbings in the town involving teenagers as young as 15.
PC Alastair Trasler-Brown, of the NPT, said: “Tackling knife crime is a matter of priority for the force, and making sure young people don’t have illegal access to knives and other bladed weapons plays an important part in this.
“This operation demonstrates the breadth of responsibility that exists in helping reduce young people’s access to weapons and reduce incidents of knives being used to threaten or harm others.
“It’s really positive the majority of stores we visited are doing the right and lawful thing in refusing to sell knives and other bladed items to under-18s.
“Please use our website to report any concerns that a shop is breaking the law in selling bladed articles to those aged under 18.”
Teenager Dylan Holliday died after being stabbed on Wellingborough's Queensway estate in August while another 16-year-old was left with serious injuries following an attack in Northampton's town centre on September 16.
Two more men and a 15-year-old boy were also injured in incidents in Northampton in a few days following the Abington Street incident.
In Corby, a 17-year-old boy was knifed in the Kingswood estate on September 17.
Seven teenagers have so far appeared in court after being charged in connection with the incidents.
■ Find help and support if you have concerns about knife crime here. Report non-emergency crime to 101 or visit www.northants.police.uk. In an emergency always call 999.