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12 Jun 2024

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Independent Harrogate computer shop Phase 4 Computers has been named as a finalist in the Tech Awards 2024.

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3 Jun 2024

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29 May 2024

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29 May 2024

P&C Music – Harrogate's oldest independent record shop – is celebrating its 30th anniversary, having become a mecca for vinyl record fans in a wide variety...

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Retailers face up to £1m fines for underage knife sales under new sentencing guidelines

Posted on in Business News

Retailers caught selling knives to children in England and Wales could face a £1m fine when new sentencing guidelines come into effect on 1 April.

knives

It will be the first time magistrates’ courts will have specific guidelines for sentencing this offence, which is prosecuted by Trading Standards and will apply to large organisations, as well as individual shop owners, who fail to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to under-18s either in-store or online.

Previously, the amount of any fine or penalty imposed following an underage sale had been left to the court’s discretion, leading to concerns that the fines were too low and did not reflect the seriousness of the offence.

Under the new guidelines, organisations will face a range of fines from £500 to £1m, with the amount linked to turnover to make penalties proportionate to the size of the organisation. Individuals face a range of non-custodial sentences, from a discharge to a high-level community order or fine.
It aims to set out a more structured and consistent approach to sentencing the offence.

While the focus of the guidelines is the underage sale of knives, the legislation covers a much broader range of bladed articles including axes and razor blades.

It is, therefore, important retailers understand the scope of the legislation in order to identify which items of stock are subject to age restrictions, according to Ashley Borthwick, a lawyer at international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, quoted in The Grocer.

He said retailers would be well advised to consider checking the up-to-date guidance relating to age-restricted sales, particularly in respect of online sales, reviewing the adequacy of underage sales policies and procedures for both physical stores and online, and refreshing staff training.

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