Guidance to courts for businesses caught selling blades to children has been welcomed by two mums who lost their sons to knife crime.

The Sentencing Council published guidelines regarding punishments for shops and individuals that flout the law.

Large organisations could be fined up to £1m if they fail to ensure blades are not sold to under 18s.

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The Northern Echo: Connor Brown Connor Brown (Image: Contributor)

Tanya Brown, whose 18-year-old son, Connor, died after a fatal stabbing during a night out in Sunderland, said: “This is a really positive step forward.

“The fact that shops can be prosecuted will make them think again before selling to just anyone.

“Also, with there now being guidelines in place for the courts to follow, this will also play a part as a deterrent to anyone carrying a knife.

“This really is such a positive step but how many lives has been lost before this has been put in place. That is the sad realisation of this unfortunately.”

Two new guidelines come into effect on April 1 this year and apply to sales in store and online.

They will be used in magistrates’ courts in cases prosecuted by trading standards departments of local authorities and aim to provide consistency.

Individuals can also face a range of non-custodial sentences.

The Northern Echo: Jack WoodleyJack Woodley (Image: Contributor)

Zoey McGill, who sons Jack, 18, died the day after he was fatally stabbed in October 2021, said: “Brilliant idea however it is the people on the streets who the sentences also need to hit.

“In Jack’s case the knife used was bought for £25 from an adult gang member.

“It’s not shops they are buying them from sadly. The black market supplies everyday people and they sell on to the streets.”

The Northern Echo: The Rambo-style knife that was used in the attack on Jack The Rambo-style knife that was used in the attack on Jack (Image: Contributor)

The Sentencing Council has also revised its guidance to make sure previous convictions of businesses are also relevant in sentencing whereas it previously related only to individual offenders past convictions

Sentencing Council magistrate member, Jo King JP, said: “Knives in the hands of young people can lead to very serious consequences.

“The responses we received to the consultation demonstrate that the vast majority of retailers take this issue very seriously and put safeguards in place to prevent the sale of knives to children.

“Prosecutions result when retailers fail to put safeguards in place or to implement them properly.

“The new guidelines set out clearly how magistrates’ courts should approach such cases when sentencing retailers for selling knives to children.”

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Lord Michael Bichard, chairman of National Trading Standards, said knife crime causes devastation in local communities and blights young lives.

He said: “Consistent sentencing rules are important when action is taken against those who sell knives to children.

“Trading Standards strongly support this move by the Sentencing Council to seek to achieve this important outcome."