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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We are opening an art shop in King's Lynn and will be stocking

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We are opening an art shop in King's Lynn and will be stocking craft knives and scalpels - do we need to register with anyone to do this?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you thinking of possession of offensive weapons?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I think that there are age restrictions involved, like when selling alcohol, but I haven't done this before so I don't want to start by selling something illegally!

Yes, there are.
If you can give me about an hour I can research that for you. I can't remember the sale restrictions off hand.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks - the shop isn't due to open until the middle of September - so no hurry. I just wanted to ask now to give time to organise things if necessary!

I don't think you register anywhere but there are conditions of sale. I will check.
Ok. The legislation basically derives from the Knives Act 1997 which you will find here
It is illegal to sell knives (and other similar products as defined) to anyone under the age of 18 years. The legislation is enforced by the
police and trading standards, and anyone found selling these items to a person under 18 risks a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to six months. Sellers should always verify the age of the purchaser before a sale.
There are also further restrictions upon advertising knives for combat which you will find here
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (as amended by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996 and the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006), it is an offence to sell to a person under the age of 18 a knife, axe or other article which has a blade.
Folding pocket knives are exempt if less than three inches upon the blade
it is a defence to prove that you took all reasonable precautions and all due diligence to keep within the law but obviously that is a high test and their powers of foreclosure are wide ranging.
It doesn't appear that you have to sell knives with plastic sheaths to cover them but it would be a good idea.
You don't need to register but it wouldn't be a bad idea to invite Trading Standards to inspect and satisfy themselves that all is well.
You can also do that with the local police but they will be far too busy investigating claims for compensation made against dead people and mediating domestic squabbles which we euphemistically call 'domestic abuse' to do any proper police work so I wouldn't hold your breath!
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Jo - we will have a 'prove you're over 18 to purchase knives' notice and keep them behind the counter. I will check with trading standards before we open.

Many thanks


No problem and all the best.
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