Prohibited knives discovered for sale to UK customers on top online marketplaces

16 banned knives, including swords, a blowpipe and flick knives were found for sale online by Trading Standards.


Release date: 25 May 2022

West Sussex Trading Standards, in partnership with Sussex Police, has found UK sellers advertising prohibited knives for sale to UK customers on some online marketplaces.

16 banned knives, including swords, a blowpipe and flick knives were found on global online marketplaces.

11 of the sellers were based in the UK and the Trading Standards Team contacted the site when the banned weapons were discovered.

The sellers of four banned knives were also located in China. The online marketplace concerned were contacted by Trading Standards and the knives were confirmed as being removed from sale to any UK customers.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager said: “We have been supporting Sussex Police with Operation Safety and aim to take dangerous items, such as prohibited knives, off physical and virtual shelves as quickly as possible to avoid them getting into the wrong hands.

“The online marketplaces concerned were quick to take action once they had been alerted to the situation and all the advertisements were removed. Any knife found for sale from a UK seller was reported to their local trading standards authorities so they could follow up with the businesses concerned.”

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Yates commented: “Operation Safety is Sussex Police’s response to serious violence and knife crime. We have been working closely with Trading Standards and UK Border Force to restrict the importation and sale of knives and prohibited weapons across Sussex.

“It is an offence to possess an offensive weapon or knife in a public place with updates to the most recent legislation making some weapons prohibited in private premises also. Anyone found in possession of such weapons will be prosecuted and intelligence will be shared with our partners.”

The basic law on knives is that it is illegal to possess a banned knife or weapon. It’s also illegal to:

  • bring into the UK, sell, hire, lend or give someone a banned knife or weapon;
  • carry any knife in public without good reason, unless it has a manual folding blade less than 3 inches long;
  • sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, unless it has a manual folding blade less than 3 inches long;
  • use any knife in a threatening way.

A full list of banned knives and weapons can be found by on the 'Selling, buying and carrying knives' page of the Government website. 

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “The ongoing work our Trading Standards Team do in supporting Sussex Police with Operation Safety is a significant task. If any resident spots these products for sale through online marketplaces, be sure to flag these directly with the website and let Trading Standards know as well, it is a quick job to report it and will help to crack down on the really big trade in dangerous weapons. It will also help to keep our county’s streets a little safer.”

If you have been involved in a knife crime or have information of knife crime in West Sussex, this can be reported to Sussex Police via their website or by calling 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you know of an individual or retailer in the county who is selling any knives to people under the age of 18, please contact West Sussex Trading Standards via their online form

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