"It should shock us all": A disturbing discovery was made in a children's toy shop in Greater Manchester... something has to change

Deadly weapons such as this knife are being sold in shops around Greater Manchester
-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)

Two Greater Manchester MPs have called for action after a Manchester Evening News investigation revealed how easy it is to buy a fearsome weapon in the region. Reporters were able to purchase a 13-inch knife from Stockport gift shop Kitraco and a pistol crossbow from Prince Toys in Bury.

In selling the items, neither shop broke the law, and both Bury and Stockport councils said they had no ongoing incidents or complaints about either business. But the investigation has sparked a debate on whether the law should be tightened to eradicate the sale of concerning weapons, against a backdrop of worrying levels of knife crime across the country.

Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Gorton who will be competing for the new Rusholme constituency in the July 4 general election, has called for such weapons to be banned. He told the M.E.N: "Knives, machetes and weapons are far too easily available, and the responsibility for tackling this has sat squarely with the Conservative government who have sat on their hands and done nothing.

READ MORE: "I usually sell these for £89, but for you... £50": A horrific discovery in a children's toy shop in Greater Manchester

"The Tories announced a ban on the sale of these weapons at least a dozen times, without actually taking any action. Knife crime is one of the biggest scourges on our society and has claimed the lives of many young people across Manchester in recent years.

"I'm pleased that through the work of the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit, the rate of knife crime has been steadily falling, but any life lost is one too many. A Labour government would prioritise safety on our streets, and deliver a ban on the sale of these dangerous weapons."

Afzal Khan
Afzal Khan -Credit:ABNM Photography

New legislation to ban 'zombie-style knives and machetes' was put forward by the government in January as part of the Criminal Justice Bill. Home Secretary James Cleverly said at the time: "Knife crime continues to take precious lives away, and I am determined to put an end to this senseless violence.

"We must stop these dangerous knives ending up on our streets and in the hands of criminals. We cannot let them be sold to children, and we must give young people a way out of violence."

The Bill has not made its way through Parliament. Now the July 4 election seems set to stand in the legislation's way. Rebecca Long-Bailey, who will be standing for re-election as Salford's MP, insists legislation must go further to tackle dangerous weapons.

The knife purchased in a Stockport shop
The knife purchased in a Stockport shop -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

"The fact you can get things like knives and crossbows over the counter in a matter of minutes, in somewhere like a toy shop, should shock us all," she told the M.E.N. "It is right that there should be calls for a review of the laws around the ownership and sale of things like crossbows and a wider range of weapons with no functional purpose, and to toughen existing rules on serration and length.

"But we can go further. Many banned knives continue to be sold where young people can buy them and have them delivered to their home. The introduction of criminal sanctions on tech executives who allow knife sales on their online marketplace is welcome, but we need a rapid review of online knife sales from the point of purchase through to delivery, looking at strengthening ID and age checks.

"There needs to be proper and serious intervention. Knife crime should concern everybody, not just young people. The message I want to give is that everyone has got to work together on this, bringing together everybody to say 'how do we challenge knife crime' is important.

Rebecca Long-Bailey
Rebecca Long-Bailey -Credit:Getty Images

"Knife crime destroys lives, devastates families, and creates fear in our communities. We owe it to the victims and their loved ones to come up with practical and preventative solutions."

M.E.N. readers have shared their concerns about the weapons available in Greater Manchester shops. On our website, one person wrote: "Since when does anyone need a 13 and a half inch blade?"

Another said: "Any northern seaside town as one of these shops right on the front. It's totally baffling how this can be allowed." A third wrote: "It's unbelievable that I can walk into a shop and buy a Rambo knife or a samurai sword. Why do people want these even 18 or over? They should be banned full stop."

Our reporter found a pistol crossbow in a Bury toy shop
Our reporter found a pistol crossbow in a Bury toy shop -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

On Facebook, Barbara Ryan wrote: "Law needs to be changed. [Too] soft this country." Bobby Mustapha said: "Should start banning these places with knife crime going up roof! Baffled…"

Dave Harrison added: "We live in a society where we constantly criticise our police, yet we openly sell weapons on the cheap to our public. If this is what we want, that's fine. But there's a reason knife crime and violent crime is a problem in our cities. We support the suppliers of weapons while berating our protectors. Madness."

When contacted by the M.E.N, the owner of Kitraco said he 'follows the law' and only sells the items to people over the age of 18. "It's legal in the UK," he added. "A lot of people buy knives, camping people and army people. I have to see the ID. If I have a doubt, I don't sell it. I reject some people when I'm not satisfied."

Prince Toys was approached for comment. The M.E.N. understands that the shop's position is that it is legally allowed to sell the weapons for 'survival and outdoor purposes' and that it ensures staff ask for ID from customers who look under the age of 25.