A DISCOUNT store has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 after an employee sold a knife to a teenager.

Lewis Baker Retail on Bridge Street, Abingdon, pleaded guilty to selling a knife to a 16-year-old at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Oxfordshire County Council decided to prosecute the business after a 16-year-old volunteer from the Fire Cadets successfully purchased a Blackspur utility blade from the store on December 20 in front of a trading standards officer.

The company was fined £750 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,084.46 and a £75 victim surcharge.

The Magistrates acknowledged that since the offence the business now had ‘simple and straightforward safeguards in place’ and that ‘steps had been taken in the right direction’ in respect of training, signage and refusals records.

The bench also took into consideration the three-month gap in trading due to lockdown and their co-operation with the investigation.

Credit was also given for the early guilty plea.

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Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “Anyone selling age-restricted-products needs to be doing everything possible to make sure their staff are properly trained and confident enough to challenge people for proof of age and identity, when appropriate.

“With tackling knife crime a priority for many areas, it is essential that businesses have taken all reasonable steps to ensure they have a robust system in place to prevent such sales from happening.”

To combat incidents like these in Oxfordshire, Trading Standards will be conducting further test purchasing to ensure retailers and their staff are complying with the law.

Another business from the Vale of the White Horse charged with a similar offence is due to appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on August 7.

Head of the county council's Trading Standards Jody Kerman said: "Retailers must understand that if they fail to set up preventative measures or train their staff then their business is liable for illegal knife sales made at their premises.

"Before any test purchasing takes place all stores are visited by Trading Standards officers and given advice."