By Rafi Benady
A firm has been fined £50,000 after child was sold a knife – in the midst of a crisis.
Tool hire firm Speedy Asset Services Ltd sold the blade to a 15-year-old girl during a Lambeth council test purchase operation.
The court heard that on the April 9 this year the knife was sold, with no questions asked, at the Speedy branch based in Sutton Walk, Waterloo.
The legal age for purchasing knives and bladed articles is 18 years.
Following the illegal sale, council Trading Standards officers immediately challenged the employee.
He admitted there was no training at the firm.
The court also heard that the investigation led by Trading Standards found the business had not taken any steps to prevent the sale, such as staff training and the introduction of a Challenge 25 policy.
A Lambeth council spokesperson said: “The council have been working hard to keep young people in Lambeth safe by making it harder for them to purchase knives and alcohol in the borough.
“We are determined to take action against businesses who fail to meet these important obligations to the community.
“The innovative approach taken put in by the council’s Trading Standards team has been crucial in achieving this result.”
On November 12 at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court a fine of £50,000 for the offence under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 was handed to Speedy Asset Services Limited.
It was also ordered that the company pay prosecution costs of £1,685 and a victim surcharge of £170.
The court was also told that the company had made a voluntary donation of £20,000 donation to an undisclosed charity.
District Judge Jacobs said he accepted the defence argument that this was negligent and that if a company chooses to sell these products it must fully comply with the law.
In between the test purchase and the court hearing the company took swift and urgent action to address compliance.
Policies were rolled out, training was run, and “Think 25” reminders and posters were displayed in its stores.
Alerts were added to the tills, refusal books were introduced alongside spot checks and audits undertaken by a health and safety manager to ensure compliance.
The company has removed all similar products from its online site, with knife sales only available in store where access to these items is now restricted.