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Teenager: ‘I walked into two shops in Islington and tried to buy deadly knives’

PUBLISHED: 07:55 05 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:41 05 November 2015

Test buyer Jacob Mosha outside Poundland in Seven Sisters Road, Islington, where he was unable to buy kitchen knives

Test buyer Jacob Mosha outside Poundland in Seven Sisters Road, Islington, where he was unable to buy kitchen knives

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Teenage secret shopper Jacob Mosha, 17, tells of his experience attempting to buy a knife in Islington as a part of a trading standards operation run by the council

Jacob is briefed by Islington trading standards officer Doug Love before the secret shopper operationJacob is briefed by Islington trading standards officer Doug Love before the secret shopper operation

Two days after my 17th birthday I went out as a test purchaser to try and buy knives in shops in Islington, which cannot be sold to under 18s.

I was working with Islington trading standards officers who had told me beforehand that, if I was asked, I had to say I was 17 and I couldn’t try and bargain my way into a buy.

We decided to go to Poundland in Seven Sisters Road. I walked in and when I saw the kitchen knives out on the shelves, rather than behind the counter, I grabbed a packet.

But as I turned around the store manager took the pack from me and said “You know I can’t sell this to you”.

Jacob visits a home-ware shop in Stroud Green RoadJacob visits a home-ware shop in Stroud Green Road

As I walked back, I briefly talked to one of the trading standards officers and we nearly got busted as the manager asked if we were together. But the officer said she was just looking for some teaspoons.

Then I went to look at Halloween costumes and waited for the manager to go so I could have another shot at buying the knives. But the store manager told me politely to leave.

There was no doubt Poundland was on the ball in that situation, although it would be better to keep the knives behind the counter out of the way of people who might steal them and potentially do wrong.

Next we went to a kitchen utensil shop in the Stroud Green Road to again try and buy kitchen knives. Going in I knew I was going to be told to leave because there was a big sign on the cigarette stall saying KNIVES WILL NOT BE SOLD TO PEOPLE UNDER 18.

No under-age sales: This poster gives a clear message on knivesNo under-age sales: This poster gives a clear message on knives

It was a clear message and it was good that sharp knives weren’t out in the open.

I waited for the customer in front of me to go and went up and asked for a knife. The shopkeeper made confused noises and asked “Really?” and how old I was. I said 17 and he just waved me outside.

All in all it was a good day as no one sold me any knives. But from my stature and baby-face I knew beforehand it would be a miracle if someone did. To be fair I don’t even look 17. But it was still a positive that no one sold to me.


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