Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

September 15, 2008 -

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.

 


Comments

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Nope Zippy it is definetly 18 here ;)

Using 16 year olds seems a bit cheap but they are still breaking the law.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

"ESRB Rating: M (Mature) MMature: Contains content that is considered unsutiable for people under the age of 17. Titles in this category may contain violence such as blood sensual references and/or language. Examples for M games include Grand Theft Auto IV, No More Heroes (video game), and Fable.An example for M- is Halo:Combat Evolved. An example for M+ is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Resident Evil. Many retailers (such as Target and Wal-Mart in the United States, Future Shop in Canada, and Best Buy in both countries) have a policy of not selling games with this rating to teenagers and others under the age of 17 without parental presence and approval.[1]"

18?? I see no 18...... besides 16/18 the diffrance they both are still children, 18 being more recognized as a responsible maturing human.. in the US mind you

 

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Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Then look here -> 18

:)

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I take it you posted this before you realised that this is the UK we were speaking about, ;)
Im well aware of the US ratings as well.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

five of nine game retailers sold GTA to the undercover buyers while only two of 25 sold them knives.

Game shops sell knives now? O_o

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Buy GTA IV and get a knife for free...

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Yeha they sell manhunt 2 to a psycopath then give him half off on a knife and then they pretend to be shocked when he does something bad.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

see i think these 'stings' would have more weight when it was say a 12 year old buying the game.

 

The fact they deliberately use 16 year olds is a bit misleading. I mean alot of 16 year olds LOOK 18. i mean i know its not the point, the sales were wrong. but i know what im trying to say.

 

The ironic thing is that this is again taken completely out of social context.. why is there outrage that a 16 year old can buy GTA?

in the uk a 16 year old can START A FAMILY. for gods sake we need to get priorities right. If a 16 year old is not responsible enough to buy gta, then how the **** is he/she responsible enough to bring a new life into the world?

yeah, the games shouldnt have been sold. But im not gonna pretend to be outraged by something i dont see as a problem whilst there are far more pressing issues to look at.

 

Its like complaining your about to get wet when it starts raining , whilst at the same time standing on a beach infront of a 100ft tidal wave speeding toward you. Get your priorities right uk! (and yes i am a uk resident!)

 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I'd imagine that the logic is to check to see if they're strictly adhering to the law or not. Using people near the cutoff is theoretically the best way to check for laxness. They're supposed to err on the side of caution, hence various stores here in the US carding anyone that looks to be younger than their late 20s or restricted purchases, or just plain carding everyone.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Rubbish... I live really near Plymouth...

To be honest though, it's full of yobs... I know a GP who works there and moans at me about how pretty much every patient is a pregnant teenager...

Doesn't surprise me... but damn... wasn't planning of going to Plymouth unless I had to anyway...

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Well, you silly bints decided to outlaw guns. Self-defense is a real part of life, anywhere you go. I'm not a big fan of guns, but it doesn't mean I don't own one. If guns were outlawed here, and I were a kid (who couldn't find a gun connection, I mean, I know I live in the US, but it can't be THAT hard, stiff upper lip and all that) I guess I'd be toting a knife.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Everyone having a gun is obviously the answer! how did we miss it, I mean look at the US, everyone having a gun has completely stopped crime.

To be honest I'd rather have a knife crime problem (which we dont really have) than a gun crime problem.

Most people in the Uk dont carry knives, and we dont need to. As another poster said, it appears to be a different mindset here. 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

"I mean look at the US, everyone having a gun has completely stopped crime."

If you honestly think all or even most of the people in the U.S. own guns well then your perceptions are probably influenced by stereotypes because that isn't the case. Also I don't think one action, even one such as 'all citizens must have concealed carry' would stop crime. Oh and I can point to your laws as not stopping crime either.

Now before we go any further let me point out that it would be a LOT harder to get rid of guns here than the U.K. This is due to the guns we all ready have, the amount of people who like guns and since the U.S. is really big it'd be harder to keep people from smuggling guns or secretly making them (just look at our succsess rate keeping weed out of the U.S.)

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Im not suggesting the US gets rid of their guns that is a decision for you guys to make, 
Here it is simply not an option the general populace is against people owning guns so hence our views over the subject.

With regards to knifes in general people who carry them here are up to no good,  some exceptions are people like chefs or people who use stanley knife etc. for thier work but these people should not be carrying their knifes around with them.   There is virtually no need for a knife in the modern urban setting,  I have never needed to use one outside of the home so why should i be allowed to carry a weapon around with me when i have no physical need for one.


These are my opinons and they are quite widespead throughout the UK.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

"There is virtually no need for a knife in the modern urban setting"

So, basically you don't want to cut food then huh?

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

We Brits have evolved to the stage where we are bwyond your reliance on primitive forms of cutlery. We cut our food with razor sharp wit.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

*grin*  You win a cornflake of your choosing sir :)

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

There is virtually no need for a knife in the modern urban setting

You'd be surprised at how handy it can be to have a good cutting tool at hand. I usually carry my pocket knife with me, and it comes in for a fair assortment of uses.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Even when guns were not outlawwed, carrying them certainly was.  And knives are not banned either, just carrying them (or at least carrying them on your person, concealed and if they are offensive - obviously a well wrapped chef's knife in your bag is fine for the purposes of cooking).

If you think "toting a knife" is a sign of an advanced culture, I pity you.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

and you would be breaking the law as well,  we have a completly different mindset over here and as such the carrying of a knife is basically a thing you don't do.
I have never carried a knife and never will and dont feel any less safe because of this.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Agreed, what works in the US doesn't mean it will work in the UK and vice-versa. Here is an example, in the UK there is a problem with alcohol abuse in our culture, some parties often look too mainland Europe and try adopting some of their approaches to fix it but the problem is that it doesnt address out cultures specific needs and causes of the problem. I mean 24 hour licencing was supposed to encourage better behaviour, instead of all the bars closing at one point in time and everyone drinking heavily to get those last rounds in it would allow people to pace themselves and not feel rushed and thus behave in a responsible manner. What happened? Folk just spend longer getting pished and there is the same amount of drink related violence.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Oy, drink related violence you say? All the better reason to carry a knife. Also, the spam filter tripped up my response to the post you were agreeing with, and I can't be arsed to repeat myself. Just know there's a verbal flogging which will render your post null coming your way.

 

Have at you then.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I would have to ask you, then, how is a knife going to help you against someone drunk?

Either they won't notice the knife and attack you anyway, or two people will get hurt instead of one. Someone comes at you? Run away. It's not cowardice.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

You can say what you like about me or my views,   I have no problem with you having a difference of opinon to me.
But you must understand that here in the UK (Scotland if you want to be particular about it)  It is highly unacceptable to carry a gun without it being in your job remit for it. i.e. Some police officers can carry firearms etc.

I feel a lot better knowing that the majority of the population do not have access to firearms and that the majority of people do not routinely carry knifes.  This is my personal perception and many others over here carry the same perception.

This doesn't seem like the case in the US but as such we are not arguing about the US here.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

So in your mind is the knife a deterrant or are you actually willing to kill someone?

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

It does have some advantages - where I am the nightclubs in the city are a given staggered closing times. That allows the police to concentrate in the right area just where the crowds are gathered, and minimise problems.. seems to work quite well.

Before the laws were relaxed they all had to finish at the exact same time, which was far harder to handle.

 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

got to say i agree with davc4

 

Ive lived for 25 years in the uk in a rough area, and NEVER ONCE have i NEEDED a weapon.

 

in 25 years. 

 

And like i said, i dont even live in a great neighbourhood.

 

Everyone keeps ripping on the UK for knife crime, but statistically London STILL has roughly half the knife attacks per year of a similar city such as new york. It gets reported alot in the uk, because any carrying weapons is seen as bad over here. It just gets misreported that its at a 'globally' high level.  London is high compared to the uk average, but still lower than most other places.

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Regardless of your personal position, we are products of our environment, and your environment probably isn't as hostile as others who would carry a knife if they were smart. I understand we do things sort of backwards here, but don't get so pompous as to believe that everywhere is all tea and crumpets my friend.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

yeeeeee hawwwwwww.


Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Regardless of your personal position, we are products of our environment, and your environment probably isn't as hostile as others who would carry a knife if they were smart.

I personally do not live in a nice area and have been attacked before but never with a weapon and im pretty glad my assailant never had a weapon or i may not be here now to be having this argument.

I understand we do things sort of backwards here, but don't get so pompous as to believe that everywhere is all tea and crumpets my friend.

Wrong stereotype here,   im not an Englishman, whereas if you said drunk, tight fisted, skirt wearer you would be more on the mark. 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

*Starts singing "Evil Scotsman.*

 

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Better not state what Billy says about peeps from my neck of the woods or i would probably be IP Banned.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Fellow Scot here as well and I've spent a lot of time in different parts Glasgow which has a tendency to be no- so-nice-a-place due to the level of poverty in some parts of the City.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Which version of GTA was it?

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Doesnt matter as they are all rated 18,  but esentially this is just testing out whether or not stores are not sticking to the law by selling underagers products which they shouldnt be allowed to purchase.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I didn't know you needed to be a certain age to buy a knife - maybe the laws are different in England.

Also, 9 stores is a pretty small sample size. The survey done in America sampled many different retailers and the spread was from 8%-60%, depending on which one was being examined at the time. The results aren't good, to be sure, but they might just be an artifact.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Each trading standards office isn't very large and they have to cover a lot of stores.. having a handful of stores for a single investigation is pretty normal.  They regularly do these kinds of operations coverting drink, cigarettes, etc. and adding knives and games to the mix isn't unexpected.

They are there to enforce the law - and selling a game to someone underage is just as illegal as selling them alchohol or a kitchen knife.  Typically a first offence is only a warning (although for something like knives they may skip that and go straight to criminal prosecution).

The headline does seem to be written in a rather odd way though... 2 out of 25 sold knives, which is progress IMO as it means 23 out of 25 didn't..  The age limits on games are harder to enforce *precisely* because they're not seen as so important - nobody ever got killed by a GTA-wielding youth.

Another factor is that TS often target stores that they've had complaints about in the past, or who have failed such tests in the past, which tends to skew their results.

 

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

re The sample size

 

This was carried out by the Plymouth Trading Standards officers, nine stores probably means they checked all the major stores selling computer games. This isn't ment to be a nation wide survey but just one of Plymouth.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I believe this was only done in the Plymouth area so hence why the sample size is so small.  They might well of targeted all the applicable stores in the area.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Anybody have the data for last years stabbing deaths inflicted by software? 

Seriously, its dangerous stuff. I cut my finger trying to open a video game package just last week. Cardboard cuts hurt.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Ummm they are listing GTA along with knives? Someone see something wrong with this? Is the UK suggesting GTA has as great of a danger to teens as an actual weapon.......

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

When we talk about "knives", we could be talking about kitchen knives, where there is at least a reasonable possibility that they want kitchenware?

What sort of knives are used in UK knife crime?

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

UK citizens are not trusted with anything that could be used as a weapon. Any type of knife really. I'm waiting to hear about increased restrictions on newspapers next.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Oh get a grip, its office of trading standards. Don't you think its at all possible that they were investigating underage sales. But y'know that doesn't play up to your persecution complex quite as well. So lets have a look at the article and see what it says...

"34 shops were tested for their compliance with the law relating to underage sales."

Wow, looks like I was right.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Selective reading much?

"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."

Sounds like wild conjecture completely unrelated to trading standards to me.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

So are you saying that Trading Standards shouldn't be investigating whether stores are illegally selling video games as well as knives, dvd's and alcohol?

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

Honestly, no. Because it's a stupid law.

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

No, he's saying that they shouldn't be making wild speculations on violent games being involved in knife issues. It's rather outside the scope of the Trading Standards investigation.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

That comment was not made by a member of Trading Standards. It was made by a Plymouth counciller. If you are going to draw a link between the two I could just as easily say that the reporter for that website asked for a comment from the counciller to increase the word count by a third.


Re: Underage Buyers Score GTA & Knives in U.K. Retail Sting

I'd guessed that he wasn't a member. My point was it was bad reporting on ya'll end, as presumably the investigation included more than just knives and games. Yet those and a bit of speculation linking the two were pretty much all that was reported on.

-Gray17

-Gray17
 
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