STAFF at two south Cumbria stores sold knives to teenagers during test purchases.

These were carried out across the county as part of a police operation to reduce knife crime. 

Staff should not sell a blade or other sharply-pointed instrument that is likely to cause injury to anyone under 18.

All of the stores visited in north Cumbria refused to sell knives to under 18s. However, two out of six stores in south Cumbria failed the test purchase, as did three out of 13 west Cumbrian stores.

Superintendent Mark Pannone said: "We’re pleased to see that the majority of store staff tested did not sell knives to youths.

“A minority did. Follow-up action was taken.

“We would urge all shop owners and anybody in charge of staff to make sure their staff know the law."

The tests were grouped under the banner of 'Operation Sceptre', the twice-a-year knife surrender which took place earlier this month. 

During the week-long surrender, 140 knives and blades were handed over.

Peter McCall, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It’s fantastic to see that nearly 140 knives were handed in during the week of Operation Sceptre. 

“Taking these knives off the streets will help prevent unnecessary violence and may save lives across the county.

“It’s also very reassuring to see that most businesses refused the sales of knives to youths.

“As a community we need to work together to help reduce crime, and having educated business-owners and employees is a step in the right direction.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone that handed over an unused knife – you have helped make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”