DIY Den fined £715 after selling knife blades to two schoolgirls in council sting operation.
The Croydon DIY store, based in St George's Walk, was fined £350 and ordered to pay costs and charges of £365 after it pleaded guilty to the charge at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Friday, August 7.
DIY Den was prosecuted by Croydon Council for selling a pack of Stanley knife replacement blades for £1.80 to two schoolgirls in March this year. The business had only been open for six weeks at the time of the incident.
The case marks the council's 15th prosecution following a series of test purchases made by volunteers under the ages of 18 as part of the borough's youth crime campaign Operation Safe For All.
DIY Den director Patricia Warby admits that it was a "genuine slip up" and realises that the council have a job to do in tackling knife crime. However, she wonders why she wasn't approached when the business first opened and provided with information about the rules and regulations she would have to comply with as a hardware retailer.
"We were a new business and I don't understand why someone from the council didn't come in and give us information on these things so that we didn't have any problems in the future."
She added: "I can see both sides and understand that people are worried about knife crime but the council seems to be targeting small shops that haven't been open very long."
Ms Warby was also perturbed that, on arriving at court for her hearing, the council had already set a fine of £781. "This amount had beeen agreed on before I'd even arrived. They said £350 was for the council and another £400-odd was costs for getting the case ready for court. But there was no case to get ready as I'd already pleaded guilty."
Fortunately the magistrate agreed that the amount was excessive and Ms Warby's fine was reduced to £715.
The news follows Allders' appearance in court in June, charged with selling a block of six large kitchen knives to a 15-year old girl and 14-year old boy. The shop assistant who served the council volunteers was also just 16-years old at the time.
Allders pleaded guilty to the charge at Croydon Magistrates' Court and was ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and costs.
Councillor Gavin Barwell said: "Shopkeepers have a vital role to play in keeping knives out of the hands of young people and off our streets by asking for ID from anyone they think might be underage.
He added: "We won't hesitate to prosecute anyone who fails in this duty."
Following DIY Den's prosecution, Croydon Council promptly passed the story onto local newspapers, which served as a further humiliation for Ms Warby. "It was over and I just wanted it to go away. We'd moved things around in the shop and made sure we were more aware of asking for ID when selling items but then I had customers coming in a week later saying 'oh I saw you in the paper'. There was a big splash in the local newspaper with our picture and everything. It was horrible."