“Don’t tell anyone” - Fallowfield business stung with fine after selling knife to 14-year-old child

A family-owned business in Fallowfield has been fined more than £1,000 after being found guilty of selling a knife to a 14-year-old child.

In January 2019 a teenage volunteer visited the Super Pound hardware shop in Hart Road. They were tasked with attempting to buy a knife as part of a Home Office test purchase scheme, run in partnership with Manchester City Council.

The volunteer entered the shop and tried to buy a £2 utility knife. The shop assistant, Zaid Khan, 30, of Hamilton Road, Manchester, asked the volunteer how old they were, when they told him that they were 14 he told them “don’t tell anyone”, and sold the knife.

Zaid Khan had previously pleaded guilty to the offence of selling a knife to a minor at Manchester Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced on January 6, 2020. He was fined £315, ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £31.

The owner of the shop Bakhtzareen Khan, 61, of Wellington Road North, Stockport, pleaded not guilty to the same offence, but was found guilty and convicted after a trial, also on January 6. He was fined £900, ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £90.

The knife sold to a 14-year-old test purchase volunteer.

He was found by magistrates not to have taken the necessary steps to prevent the sale of knives to minors by not having adequately trained members of staff regarding the sale of knives. He also did not have a sales refusal log at the premises.

This conviction could have been avoided, as the Council had written to the defendant prior to the test purchase, advising him on steps that could be taken to ensure knives were not sold to under 18s. The defendant disputes seeing the letter. 

From late 2017 to early 2019, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards Team have carried out 72 test purchases across a range of shops throughout the city.

Out of the 72 test purchases made, there were 12 stores which sold knives to underage volunteers, representing a 16.6 per cent failure rate. Of the 12 stores which failed there have been four prosecutions, resulting in fines of £8,215 being collected.

While this is a positive step in ensuring that knives stay off our streets and out of the hands of young people, there is continued work to be done alongside our partners in Greater Manchester Police and other agencies.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Getting knives out of the hands of young people is one of the most pressing issues of the times we are living in. A knife has the power to devastate families and communities. We have to continue our work to educate people on the consequences of using a knife, but also the consequences of selling a knife. The work that we have done over the past year will galvanise the efforts of the Council and our partners in the months to come.

“For the sake of £2, these men have a criminal record, and have racked up fines and costs running into the thousands of pounds. I hope this gets the message across that we are prepared to take decisive action to stop the flow of knives onto our streets, and ensure the safety of our communities.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “The law is clear - it’s illegal to sell a knife to a child. Our tests show that it’s still too easy for a child to buy a knife in store or online. These sentences show that selling knives to underage customers does not pay – retailers risk hefty fines for the sake of one-off sales. More importantly, we know that young people are getting involved in knife crime offences, and as such I urge all retailers to do more.”

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