Two companies have been fined thousands for selling a Stanley knife and meat cleaver to a child online following a sting by Croydon Council.

In two separate cases on Tuesday, a tool supplier from Leicestershire was fined £40,000 and a catering equipment firm from Newcastle fined £8000 after pleading guilty to selling knives to a 13-year-old volunteer test purchaser for the Council's trading standards team.

Both companies were sent letters in advance warning them that an online test purchase was likely, but despite this failed to ensure child was old enough to purchase the delivery.

Councillor Hamida Ali, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities, said: "In Croydon we’re taking a public health approach to tackling violence.

"Too many businesses are potentially endangering the lives of young people because they aren’t doing enough checks to stop children getting hold of knives online.

“Our excellent trading standards team in Croydon is leading the way nationally on tackling illegal knife sales online.

"Their impressive enforcement record is highlighting that online businesses are much less likely to have safeguards in place compared to store-based sales.

“I urge all businesses - whether operating in store or online - to take their responsibilities seriously and play their part in protecting our young people."

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is illegal to sell a knife, knife blade, razor blade or axe to anyone under 18.

Croydon Council prosecuted Cromwell Tools after the underage purchaser bought a Stanley fixed blade utility knife on January 16, fining them £40,000.

During the process, the test purchaser was not required to enter a date of birth or confirm he was over 18. The £8.43 knife was delivered on January 21.

Heaton Catering Equipment also admitted the offence having sold a Giesser meat cleaver to the 13-year-old for £34.37.

They were able to buy the cleaver, which was delivered soon after, by entering a false date of birth, false name and cover address.

In mitigation, lawyers for both companies apologised and told the court they had taken steps to improve their procedures around online sales.

Cromwell has since updated its staff training and online procedures, while Heaton is exploring a contract where age checks are carried out upon delivery and is researching additional IT checks on age-restricted products.

Sentencing Cromwell Tools to pay £40,000 plus council court costs of £1,943.40 and a £170 victim surcharge, Chair of the Bench Stuart Walker said the fine would have been £80,000 if Cromwell had not pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and not taken substantial steps since the offence.

In the other case, magistrates fined Heaton Catering Equipment £8,000 and ordered it to pay court costs of £1,865.80 and a £170 victim surcharge.

The prosecutions are the fourth and fifth such convictions under Croydon Council trading standards team’s lead role in the initiative, whose first prosecution was in June.