Traders caught selling knives to children in Rotherham
Five traders in Rotherham were caught selling knives to underage children in an operation in the town.
South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council's trading standards unitÂ ran a test purchase operationÂ in theÂ town yesterday using two underage volunteers.
Organised as part of Operation Sceptre -Â a week-long crackdown on knife crime -Â children were sent into shops and to market stallsÂ to try to buy a blade while policeÂ and trading standards officers assessed whether anyone checked their ages.
Five failed the test.
South Yorkshire Police said the operation was aimed at '˜testing the resilience and ethical behaviour of shops or stalls selling knives'.
The force said the '˜vast majority of shops are completely law abiding' and that the operation was aimed at '˜makingÂ Rotherham safer'.
Operation Sceptre is a national initiative in response to an increase in knife crime offences.
There were 1,008 offences recorded in South Yorkshire last year -Â up 126 on theÂ year before.
Police chiefs said raids will be carried out andÂ knife arches will be used to try to find those walking theÂ streets armed.
Extra policeÂ patrols have also been ordered in communities affected by knife crime.