|Low Fine for Shop after Children Buy Knives|
Acton Pound store director gets 'unduly lenient' sentence
A company which sold knives to children for just one pound has escaped with only a light fine.
Ajit Singh, Director of One Pound Store Ltd in Acton and Southall, appeared at Ealing Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty, on behalf of his company, to two offences of selling knives to children under the age of 18.
The court action was taken after regulatory officers from Ealing Council’s Trading Standards’ team mounted two sting operations using closely supervised teenagers.
The Acton store was caught in an operation in October selling a knife to a 15 year old girl. This happened after Singh had been told to warn his other employees to be more careful when selling knives after a previous incident. In the first case a member of staff sold a kitchen knife to a 14-year-old boy at the shop in South Road, Southall, last September.
The company was fined £150 for the first offence and £250 for the second and ordered to pay £395 court costs. The court agreed to let the company pay the fine off at a rate of £20 per week.
The maximum penalty for the offence is six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000, or both.
Councillor Vlod Barchuk, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: “I am disappointed that a company which has sold knives to children on two separate occasions has been given such a low fine. In a similar case earlier this year the trader had to pay £3,000. We’ve had cases where people have been fined thousands of pounds for selling counterfeit goods.
“I understand that magistrates have to take many different factors into account, but unduly lenient sentences like this do nothing to encourage traders to act responsibly. Nevertheless, the council will continue with test purchases to check that the law is being upheld and we will take traders to court if they are caught selling knives to children.”
Both offences were selling a knife to a person under the age of 18 contrary to S141A(1) of the Criminal Justice Act (1988) as inserted by S6 Offensive Weapons Act 1996 and amended by S43 (1) & (2) of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.
June 26, 2009