Northumberland shops have been praised once again following Operation Sceptre knife test purchases.
On Tuesday July 23, officers from Northumbria Police have been working in partnership with Trading Standards from Northumberland County Council to proactively run a test purchasing operation.
Under Operation Sceptre officers carried out the joint initiative that targeted eight retail premises in the Ashington area to ensure they were complying with relevant legislation and that those underage do not have access.
Seven out of eight stores correctly identified the underage volunteer and refused the sale.
PC Scott Burn, from Northumbria Police Harm Reduction Unit, said: “This was a very positive operation with excellent opportunities to engage with retail premises and work alongside our partners.
“This demonstrates the continued work being carried out to safeguard communities and ensure our streets are kept knife free.
“We hope this highlights the lengths Northumbria Police and partners will go to safeguard communities and proactively target suspects.”
The store that failed the test purchase will be subject to trading standards enforcement.
Councillor John Riddle, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Resilience and Chair of the Safer Northumberland Partnership, said: “The increase in knife crime in many parts of the country is very concerning and we will work with all of our partners to reduce the incidents of crime and disorder and keep our residents safe.
"I'm pleased that seven out of eight stores asked for ID and didn't sell. It is always disappointing when a sale does take place and we will investigate such instances. We are very willing to work with businesses to help them understand the law and what they can do to avoid making sales to young people.”
This continues the work of Operation Sceptre that previously saw a similar initiative rolled out across North Tyneside with ten out of eleven stores successfully challenging an under-aged Police Cadet.
PC Burn goes on to say: “Should members of the public have any concerns they are urged to contact the police and feel reassured that positive action will be taken to keep the community safe.”
Anyone who has any concerns or information about people going out with a weapon is urged to come forward and speak to police by calling 101 and asking to speak to their local Neighbourhood Team or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Local business can Contact Trading Standards on 01670 623870 for advice in relation to the sale of age restricted products.