Children as young as 13 sold knives including two cases in Dagenham

Beatrice Mushiya, third from right at the front, and Suzanne Hedges, third from left at the front, m

Beatrice Mushiya, third from right at the front, and Suzanne Hedges, third from left at the front, marched against knife crime after their sons were killed - Credit: Archant

Children as young as 13 were sold knives during under cover operations across the capital - including two cases in the borough - figures out today reveal.

A Dagenham shop was fined £600 in November after Chadwell Handy Shop employee Varinder Singh sold a 20cm long knife to a 15-year-old girl in a council-led covert operation at the High Road store.

And in July a Poundstretcher shop in Merrielands Retail Park in Merrielands Crescent, Dagenham, was ordered to pay almost £13,000 in fines and costs after Romford Magistrates’ Court found it guilty of selling a £2.99 set of knives to a 15-year-old girl during an undercover operation.

During the whole of last year, child volunteers working for London Trading Standards and the Met carried out 725 test purchases as part of “Operation Sceptre”, with 96 retailers selling knives and other bladed articles to youngsters below the legal age of 18.

In total, 19 traders across the capital were prosecuted by Trading Standards or are awaiting a hearing, while others got official warnings and advice on how to abide by the law.

Steve Playle, a spokesman at London Trading Standards said: “The illegal sale of knives can significantly impact on the health, safety and welfare of young people and the communities in which they live. It’s important we work together to prevent them.

Chief Insp of the Met’s trident central gangs command, Gary Anderson, said: “We have successfully managed to reduce the volume of gang-related knife crime.

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“However, more work still needs to be done to prevent knives from reaching dangerous hands and reduce the number of families devastated by knife crime.”

Anyone with information about shops selling age-restricted products to children can report it anonymously at