16-year-old secret shoppers were able to purchase knives and Grand Theft Auto in a retail sting operation conducted by Trading Standards officials in the U.K. city of Plymouth.
As reported by the Plymouth Evening Herald, five of nine game retailers sold GTA to the undercover buyers while only two of 25 sold them knives. Fair Trading Officer Lynda Braddock commented:
We’re disappointed that the games sellers concerned don’t seem to have taken their training on board or recognised the fact that these games are given a high age rating for a reason.
Councillor Michael Leaves, Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Environmental Regulation, added:
Parents will be worried about these test purchase results. The carrying of knives by some young people seems to be a plague at the moment. It’s vital for shops not to sell youngsters knives and I find it very disappointing that any in Plymouth have done so.
As for violent video games, I believe they must have a detrimental influence on any children who play them and I would not be at all surprised if there was not a connection with the knife crime issue. Everyone who sells these games must take extra care to ensure they only sell them to those who can legally buy them.