You may have read recently about volunteer Police Cadets assisting Police and Trading Standards Officers with a recent test purchase operation across North Wales aimed at tackling knife crime.

The test purchases were carried out as part of Op Sceptre, a national operation dedicated to tackling knife crime, with the cadets visiting 63 stores that offer knives for sale across all six counties during a week-long campaign.

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In Wrexham 16 stores were visited with just one successful purchase – the lowest number in North Wales. Whilst this is to be applauded one is still too many and the premises concerned will be visited and reminded of their responsibilities to ensure they follow the law on the sale of knives.

It is illegal to sell a knife or similar bladed article to a person under the age of 18. Doing so is an offence that both the individual seller and business involved can be liable for, and can attract a penalty of imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “Concerns about knife crime have made the national news lately and whilst it is not a major issue in Wrexham it is one that should not be ignored and it is right we remain vigilant to ensure it remains that way. It is important retailers are aware of their responsibilities under the law so we can make sure that our young people cannot obtain them that way. As a local authority we are always committed to working in partnership with the police and other agencies to protect the people of Wrexham.”

Detective Inspector Tecwyn Green of North Wales Police said: “The purpose of the operation – which was the first time North Wales Police has conducted such a co-ordinated approach to tackling knife crime collaboratively, was to test local stores of their awareness of the law, their security measures and their own range of verification schemes.

“Retailers play a crucial role in ensuring our young people can’t get hold of knives which could then be used to cause harm. Whilst we are pleased that 49 of the stores we visited refused to sell to our cadets for not having any identification, unfortunately a number of them did allow purchases to be made. The licensing team from the relevant local authority will now be working with them to discuss how to resolve.

“North Wales Police and all partner agencies are committed in doing everything they can to tackle knife crime. If you carry a knife, not only are you putting other lives at risk, but also your own. We will continue to work closely with retailers and further test purchasing operations will be carried out in the future to ensure all businesses are operating within the law.”

If you have information regarding knife crime or if you know of someone carrying a knife, please report it to North Wales Police on 101 or via the live webchat. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.

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