An undercover police investigation carried out in Wiltshire found that a third of shops willingly sold knives to children.

Operation Sceptre, a national operation to help tackle knife crime, was launched in Wiltshire on Monday, May 13, as police officers worked in partnership with young police cadets.

The officers sent the cadets, who were aged between 15 and 16, into nine different shops in the Chippenham, Calne and Corsham area on Monday evening to attempt to buy a knife.

Although six out of the nine stores did check for a form of identification and refused to sell the knives due to the children's ages, three others sold the knives willingly.

The three shops which sold bladed articles to 15-year-olds despite being obligated to check the age of under 25s have not yet been named.

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Wiltshire Times: Children were able to easily pick up dangerous weapons from three shops in the area.Children were able to easily pick up dangerous weapons from three shops in the area. (Image: Wiltshire Police)

"Luckily on this occasion, it was only our cadets purchasing the weapons and they weren't intending to use them to harm anyone," said a spokesperson for Wiltshire Police.

They continued: "However, advice was passed to store managers regarding the Challenge 25 scheme and they were asked to educate staff on the concerns and dangers of not following this when selling bladed articles."

The operation is expected to be continued in other shops and other areas of the county, after a growing concern for the accessibility of knives and other dangerous weapons.