Four Littlehampton stores found selling potential weapons to children in police operation

Police working to disrupt crime and raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives have carried out a day of action in Littlehampton.

Sussex Police worked together with police cadets to test purchases at nine stores across Littlehampton.

Police said the test purchases were designed to test whether stores were adopting the Challenge 25 scheme and to educate retailers which fail to challenge young teenagers buying knives and bladed items.

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Four out of nine stores, including a national retailer, failed the test purchases resulting in three being investigated and one failing an education session they had been given, police said.

Four Littlehampton stores found selling potential weapons to children

Sergeant Scott Walters said: “Ensuring that shops and stores do not sell bladed items is a crucial part of ensuring our communities are safe and retailers take their responsibilities around this role seriously.

“We want retailers to work with us to prevent sale of dangerous items to children.

“Where repeated failures are found, regional and national management is engaged to ensure staff are well educated and trained to challenge anyone who appears under 25 and cannot prove they are over 18.”

Sergeant Walters said the punishment for selling a knife to a child can be anything ranging from an unlimited fine to six-months imprisonment.

A man was also arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs and a knuckle duster as a result of the day of action in Littlehampton, police said.

Sergeant Walters added: “Operation Safety will continue to target those thought to be conducting criminal activity and reduce the presence of weapons in our community.

“The Offensive Weapons Act now makes possession of prohibited weapons such as knuckle dusters, flick knives and other lethal object an offence, even in private.

“We will actively pursue intelligence about being kept in private to ensure they are removed from circulation and to lower the risk of them being used for violence.”

You can report knife crime online or by calling 101, or in an emergency always call 999.

To report knife crime anonymously go to the website.