CALLS have been made for action on shops which may be selling knives to under-age children after three recent incidents involving youngsters with blades in Bolton.

A Bolton Council scrutiny committee meeting this week heard a report on enforcement of the law on knife sales by trading standards.

Cllr Richard Silvester, committee chairman, said members were extremely concerned about the how teenagers were obtaining knives.

He said: “In the past three weeks we’ve had three incidents with young people using knives.

“In Westhoughton the other weekend a young person was stabbed, there was a young person stopped on Great Moor Street with a fixed blade and then there were young people in the Tonge area who attempted a robbery with knives, previous to being stopped by police.

“It’s important that the premises where they are obtaining knives must be stopped.”

Cllr Nick Peel, borough Labour leader, urged Bolton trading standards to use young volunteers in test purchase operations to try and catch out those breaking the law on blade sales.

He said: “In Tonge it was 14 and 15-year-old boys who attempted to do a robbery with bladed weapons.

“This is a growing concern to all in Bolton and I would appeal to trading standards to keep your eye on this.

“I’m a big believer in naming and shaming.

“If we can do test purchases with our young volunteers the resultant publicity does have an affect.

“It makes other shopkeepers think and makes them ensure their staff are up to date with their legal obligation.

“I would appeal to you to slot it into your busy schedule.”

Kelly Hopkins, from the council’s regulatory services, said with the small numbers of staff they had got in trading standards all of their under-age sales and test purchases operations took pace after intelligence is received from members of the public, the police and councillors.

She said: “Councillors are probably the best source of information on what’s going on in individual wards because you’re right at the coalface and residents can tell you what’s happening with a lot of really valuable intelligence.

“We’ve had very little about premises selling knives and bladed articles to young people and we’ve not had any recent intelligence that this is happening.

“If members are aware of any intelligence, if there’s any suggestion that knives are being sold to under-age people, please let us know. We will immediately investigate.”