Underage youngsters try to buy knives in undercover police operation in Doncaster

A clean sweep was recorded on Friday night as part of Operation Sceptre as an undercover operation saw young police cadets attempt to buy knives from well-known retail outlets across Doncaster.
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Operation Sceptre was a week-long anti-knife crime campaign that ran from Monday 13 November to Sunday 19 November. The operation supports the work we do all year round to detect, reduce and prevent knife crime in our local communities and one element of it involves test purchases of knives.

It is against the law to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18 and on Friday 17 November, officers worked in conjunction with Trading Standards to make sure stores such as B&M, The Range and Sainsbury's were complying with this legislation.

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During the two-hour operation, two police cadets, who are 15 and 16-years-old, attempted to buy knives from stores in Doncaster. They were observed from a distance by a chaperone and Sergeant Stuart Rowse, who coordinated Doncaster's plans for Op Sceptre.

Out of the 12 stores visited, every single one challenged the two youngsters and asked them for ID to prove they are over 18.Out of the 12 stores visited, every single one challenged the two youngsters and asked them for ID to prove they are over 18.
Out of the 12 stores visited, every single one challenged the two youngsters and asked them for ID to prove they are over 18.

Out of the 12 stores visited, every single one challenged the two youngsters and asked them for ID to prove they were over 18. When they told them they didn't have any ID, they refused the sale, with PS Rowse then informing management that they had passed the test.

PS Rowse said: "Knife test purchase operations are an important part of Operation Sceptre as it allows us to make sure that retail outlets are not selling knives illegally to underage people.

"In the UK, it is illegal to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18 and retailers are encouraged to 'think 21' and 'think 25', and ask anyone they suspect is underage for ID.

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"Every store we visited on Friday evening passed the test and that was really encouraging to see. We know that knife crime is continuously evolving in terms of the weapons available and if retailers carry out their appropriate checks, it stops knives from falling into the wrong person's hands.

"We want to continue working closely with retailers to ensure they are following the correct procedures and to ensure no one under the age of 18 is able to buy a knife."

Further knife test purchase operations were carried out at stores in Doncaster last weekend. In total, 27 stores were visited and every shop passed apart from one which sold a knife to an underage police cadet.

The store was given verbal advice upon failing the test and its details have been passed to Trading Standards.A spokesman said: “We will be posting a full round up of results from our week of action later this week so keep an eye on our website and social media channels.”