Sale of Knives

UK law states that it is illegal to sell a knife to a person under 18. You will be asked to confirm you are over this age when ordering any knives.

The possession of knives in a public place is dealt with by Section 139 of the 1998 Criminal Justice Act. This makes it an offence for anyone to have any article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed with them in a public place. However, it is not an offence if you can show that you had lawful authority (on-duty policemen, armed forces, etc.) or reasonable excuse. The onus to prove "reasonable excuse" falls on the person carrying the knife. It is a defence to have a knife with you for the purposes of work, but this does not extend much past the work environment.

It is also a statutory defence to carry a folding pocket knife with a cutting edge of three inches or less. However, the knife must be capable of folding at all times. The Divisional Court has ruled that this excludes lock-knives because they can only be folded after a button has been pressed.

It always pays to be circumspect about carrying a knife in public. If you want to be sure, then carry a folding pocket-knife with a blade less than three inches. However, if you carry a lock-knife, then remember that you have to provide the justification for having it.

Source: Shooting Times & Country Magazine, 20 March 2003.

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