Selling knives online to a 13-year-old led to two companies being ordered to pay nearly £20,000 combined.

Since June Croydon Council has carried out ten prosecutions as part of its trading standards team leading a nationwide pilot clampdown backed by the Home Office and National Trading Standards against online knife sales to children.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996, it is illegal to sell a knife, knife blade, razor blade or axe to anyone under 18.

Sealants and Tools Direct Ltd, from Newton Abbot in Devon, sold an 18mm snap-off knife to the volunteer test purchaser on January 23, 2019. On Tuesday, October 1 Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court ordered the company to pay a total of £10,733.20 – an £8,000 fine, with costs of £2,563.20 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Woodland Ways Ltd, from Matlock in Derbyshire, also sold a companion knife to a 13-year-old on the same date, and were ordered to pay a total of £10,066.80 – an £8,000 fine, with costs of £1,896.80, and a victim surcharge of £170.

Advance warning letters to say a test purchase attempt was likely were sent to both companies.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities said: “Whether businesses are operating in store or online, they all have a major responsibility to help protect young people and prevent knife crime.

“Our work leading nationally on online test purchasing is consistently highlighting how much more online providers must do to comply with the law. The message is clear – underage, illegal knife sales lead to prosecutions.

“We couldn’t do any of this vital work without our young volunteer mystery shoppers who are taking an active part in helping to keep other young people safe.”