ACTION has been taken against two shops in Colchester which failed to follow the correct procedures when selling knives, it has been revealed.

Essex Police was forced to take “appropriate action” against two businesses in the city as part of Operation Sceptre, a week focused on tackling knife crime.

Colchester Council documents reveal the two businesses failed “test-purchasing operations” which took place in November last year.

It is illegal to sell knives or blades to anyone under the age of 18 and retailers should ask for ID from any customers who look under 25.

Gazette: Concerned - Ellie Ingram's son Tom Brittain was murdered in Colchester in 2013Concerned - Ellie Ingram's son Tom Brittain was murdered in Colchester in 2013 (Image: Family)

Ellie Ingram, whose son Tom was murdered in Colchester in 2013, says even one retailer failing to do the right checks is “one shop too many”.

She said: “If shopkeepers, residents, council, and police are all singing from the hymn sheet and pulling together to stop violence from happening you could say they’re trying to do everything they can, but this sends completely the wrong message.

“Every home has a knife or a set of knives and that’s where they should stay. If somebody was in a state of anger and wanted to do something and did go and buy a knife; accessing one so easily is shocking.

“My son died in Colchester with knife wounds, so it feels insulting.”

Man stabbed over drug debt

Essex Police has taken other measures to help victims of knife crime, including supporting a 34-year-old man who was homeless in Colchester.

Council documents reveal the man was a drug user who fell victim to knife crime after getting into debt with his dealer.

“This debt led to them being stabbed and severely injured,” a report says.

Specialist officers are now providing the man with “long-term safeguarding and support” to the man who is now living away from the city while he recovers from his injuries.

The report adds: “They have been clean for the last two months and no longer associate with any of their old associates.”

He receives fortnightly visits and has been given a WiFi booster so he can access daily online Narcotics Anonymous meetings and will be given help to find a job once he has recovered from his injuries.

What does Essex Police say?

Essex Police says it works “determinedly” to tackle violent crime in Colchester and across the county and that violent crime in Colchester has dropped by more than seven per cent in the last year.

A spokesman said: “It is a top priority for us as a force and always an area of focus for many of our teams, be it our local and community policing teams or our dedicated serious violence unit.

“We work to tackle violent crime in a number of ways, including through our nationally recognised hotspot policing Operation Grip.

“Through this work, we can focus on specific areas where the likelihood of a serious or violent crime happening is higher and we target those areas with high visibility patrols and, when appropriate, stop and search activity.”

He added the force works with other agencies to tackle other crimes which often go hand in hand with serious violence.

“This partnership work helps to keep us at the forefront of policing innovation in this area,” he added.