UNDERCOVER Trading Standards investigators have challenged stores that do not ID young looking people buying knives.

Officers visited big name shops throughout Colchester, and surrounding borough, on Saturday.

An 18-year-old officer, who the Gazette has agreed not to name, approached shop counters with large, off-the-shelf kitchen knives to see if she was challenged by staff.

But three shops failed the test – The Range, in Cowdray Avenue, Homebase in Stanway Tollgate and Highwoods Tesco.

The sale was completely legal, as she is old enough to buy blades, but shops should be requesting identification under the nationally recognised Challenge 25 scheme.

Full report, pictures and interviews in Monday's Gazette.