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New Sentencing Guidelines | Underage Sale of Knives by Individuals | Kangs Knife Crime Offences Defence Solicitors

New Sentencing Guidelines | Underage Sale of Knives by Individuals

In this recent post, we explained the New Sentencing Guidelines in relation to sentencing following illegal sale of knives by organisations. Sukhdip Randhawa now outlines the new framework as it relates to sales by individuals, which took effect from 1 April 2023.

The New Sentencing Framework | Individuals

As with sales by organisations, the offence is summary only, triable before Magistrates’ Courts where the maximum penalty is six months imprisonment, with a sentencing range varying from a Discharge to a Community Order.

Factors which the courts will consider include Culpability and Harm.


Culpability falls into three categories:

Category A:  High culpability. 

This category caters for offenders:

  • Failing to put in place appropriate measures to prevent underage sales which for:

instore sales should involve identifying restricted products, providing clear signage, conducting age verification checks, appropriate age challenging policies, staff training, a means of monitoring or refusal and till prompts, 

online sales involves following Government guidance on the sale and delivery of knives including identifying restricted products, conducting age verification on delivery or collection, instore policing with age verification on collection.

  • Failing to act on concerns raised by employees or others
  • Falsifying documents
  • Failing to make appropriate changes following advice and/or prior incidents
  • Disregarding clear measures put in place to prevent underage sales

Category B:  Medium Culpability

This will include where:

  • Offender is in position of responsibility to put in place appropriate measures but failed to do so
  • Offender failed to fully implement measures put in place
  • In other cases, where the Offender’s culpability falls between factors as described in A and C

Category C:  Lesser culpability

  • Offender made significant efforts to prevent underage sales where not amounting to a defence


The harm caused by this offence relates to the risks, both to themselves and to others as well as the wider community associated with children and young people being in possession of knives.

There is just one level of harm, as the same level as harm is risked by any such sale to persons aged under 18.

Sentencing Starting Points

Having determined the category of the offence, the court will then have to consider the Starting Point for determining the level of sentence, which, inter alia, applies to all offenders irrespective of any plea or previous convictions.

Individuals characterised as having culpability A face a starting point of a medium level Community Order or Band E fine. 

Those whose level of culpability is deemed to be B, face a starting point of a low-level Community Order or a Band D fine.

Those with culpability at level C face a starting point of a Band A fine

Aggravating factors will include previous convictions and offences committed on bail whilst mitigating factors will include no previous convictions, age and lack of maturity amongst others.

How Can We Help?

If you require expert legal advice upon any aspects of criminal law, including that of knife crime, please do not hesitate to contact us. Kangs is recognised as one of the leading criminal defence firms in the country and is top ranked in both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK and the Legal 500.

If you are facing investigation or anticipate that you may well do so, in respect of any alleged criminal offence, our team will be delighted to assist you. 

We are available by way of 24/7 emergency call out in respect of situations to provide assistance if you need to attend the Police Station, Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.

Our Team is available via telephone 0333 370 4333 and by email

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Alternatively, discussions can be held virtually through live conferencing or telephone.

Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

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Helen Holder

Helen Holder

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