A QUARTER of Southampton shops failed when tested on restrictions around selling knives to children.

Officers from Southampton North Neighbourhood Policing team carried out eight test purchase operations on May 29 as part of their ongoing work to tackle knife crime in the city through Operation Sceptre.

On May 29, the force’s 15-year-old test purchaser went into various shops throughout the city and attempted to purchase a knife.

Out of the eight stores tested, two failed by selling bladed articles to a person aged under 18-years-old.

On one occasion, a member of staff told the tester to use the self-checkout to make the purchase easier as they couldn’t sell it to her at the till. The stores were in Portswood, Mansbridge and Bitterne Park.

Police sergeant Alex Peacock said: “It is disappointing that two stores failed but great that the majority did the right thing and challenged a child trying to buy a knife.

“Correct procedures must be practice to prevent young people from easily obtaining knives and potentially putting their lives, or the lives of others, at risk.

“These operations are about keeping Southampton safer in partnership.

“We must ensure retailers uphold their responsibilities in investing in that too.

“We’re really happy with the positive results from the stores that passed and we will keep doing all we can to raise awareness about knife crime and retail responsibility.