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Watchdog buy illegal knives on eBay UK

By Chris Dawson February 9, 2009 - 11:47 am

I can just imagine the groans at eBay HQ in Richmond at the news that Watchdog tonight investigates one of the biggest online brands dealing with illegal and offensive weapons.

The program will focus on how researchers were able to buy five knives which are illegal to sell or carry in the UK from international sellers. The knives were all purchased from international sellers but through the eBay.co.uk site.

This isn’t a new problem and back in August when the additional verification for buyers wishing to purchase knives was introduced we showed a screen shot displaying illegal knives available on eBay UK. Searches of the site this morning show that international listings for illegal knives have been removed from UK visibility, but it’s an ongoing challenge for eBay. With overseas sellers listing directly on eBay UK, or with the ISV feature (International Site Visibility) it’s all too easy for items which either aren’t suitable for the UK, or are illegal in the UK to be presented to buyers at the top of Best Match.

militaryknivesThe knife issue goes further than just international listings however, eBay’s Knife Policy states ““, but on the site today are 108 ““. A few are military sets of eating utensils, the vast majority are combat knives.

According to the BBC eBay are reviewing their position with regards to the sale of all knives on eBay, including those currently permitted by law. eBay already insist that to purchase a knife buyers must have a credit card on file, although this has thrown up some interesting quirks with buyers asked to verify their identity for non-knife purchases. It’s likely that restrictions around knife sales will become even more rigid in the near future.

The Watchdog program airs on BBC1, tonight (9th February 2009) at 7.30pm and can be reviewed for the next week on the BBC iPlayer

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    bayonets are still freely available on ebay,
    you cant get much more combat than those,

    I suppose it does not hurt as much, if your killed with a military collectable

  • board_surfer
    13 years ago

    Anyone want to bet the most common knife used in assaults is the common kitchen type?

  • 13 years ago

    Just had a quick look myself on UK 257 Daggers,130 Swords, 3 Hatchetts.

    60 are UK.

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    and thats not to mention all the sponsored links to kung fu and martial arts weapon suppliers

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    well done Richard Ambrose
    ebay came over very well

  • 13 years ago

    they need to sort this stuff out – its gonna further damage the reputation of the site in the minds of the UK buyers. A quick search brings up a throwing knife for sale from ebay.it – a banned item in the UK.

    Ebay have done such a good job over the years to move the site in the right direction….swift action by senior management is required to nip this in the bud. I agree with RA that a blanket ban is required.

  • 13 years ago

    #4 yeah – I saw that too – all those google sponsored links

    I wonder if all that pepper spray has been moved off Amazon yet?!

  • R
    13 years ago

    WE BANNED HAND GUNS, KILLING A HOBBIE AND SPORT.
    HAND GUN CRIME WENT UP AND IS RISING

    HEY LETS KILL ANOTHER HOBBIE. BLANKET BAN ON ALL KNIVES(APART FROM KITCHEN) I’M SURE A WOULD BE KILLER, CRIMINAL WOULD BUY HIMSELF A £100 PLUS COLLECTABLE KNIFE TO COMMIT HIS CRIME??????????

    20 YEARS FOR ANYONE CARRYING A KNIFE WITH INTENT,
    THEN WE WOULD SEE A CHANGE.

  • 13 years ago

    Hmmm, ebay UK have a category : Knives/ Swords > Knives > Bowie/ Commando

    I assume a Bowie knife with a huge blade is legal in the UK ?

    http://prune.it/1mqg37

  • alterego
    13 years ago

    A blanket ban is a good idea? Nice to see a shortage of brain cells is not just limited to Ebay HQ!

    Maybe Ebay should have some bottle and actually police the site themselves. There are legitimate businesses on Ebay trading in collectible and serious knives. Not to mention the Buschraft side of things. Ray Mears is a bit of a national icon and now one of the tools of his trade is an evil piece of serial killer tool and has to be banned from Ebay UK.

    The T&S team should be summarily fired for this gross incompetence. It has taken Watchdog to make them see that they are completely useless at their jobs and this kind of knee jerk reaction shows that they are totally out of their depth.

    Get rid of them all and bring in quality people that are not afraid to defend a free market and uphold the law and not what Watchdog says.

  • alterego
    13 years ago

    “well done Richard Ambrose
    ebay came over very well”

    What? He only showed that Ebay can cave under the lightest pressure from a rubbish BBC show that aspires to investigative journalism.

    Ebay did nothing except show they are rudderless.

  • Patty
    13 years ago

    What aboiut the companies and business’ on ebay which sell knives etc?

    Thats their livelihoods gone.; Completely rediculous reaction and i completely agree with what was said previously about how ebay cannot and dont even police their own site.

  • Pete
    13 years ago

    #12 good riddance to them, along with the idiots that feel the need to collect knives?!?

  • 13 years ago

    We sell dining cutlery and for ages people have not been able to buy so much as a fish knife and fork or sharpening steel without a seller account and a card on file.
    I hope Ebay will not impose the kind of ban whereby all sorts of products other than weaponary get caught up. Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to a.police this one sector themsleves personally.
    b. remove the categories such a Eddie cites above, from their site.

  • Andy
    13 years ago

    I agree that Richard Ambrose came across very well and put ebay in a much better light with what he said. Those that think he/T&S should be fired – what would you have said to Nicky Campbell live on national TV then that would have been better?
    If you collect knives (why?) I’m sure you can find somewhere else to buy them other than ebay.co.uk.

    #8 I guess you’d still have guns for sale in the UK from what you’re saying. That would definitely lead to a reduction in gun crime wouldn’t it. What planet do you live on? Guns are everywhere in the USA. How does their gun crime stack up against the UK? 80 Americans die every single day from gun violence and last year 455 people in all were killed by firearams in the UK – actually down 3% from the previous year – not up as you claim. As far as children goes 19 are killed on average per year in Britain whereas 5285 are killed in the USA. Let’s bring guns back – it’s a great idea.

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    how on earth can ebay do anything other than ban knives
    when knives on ebay are sent with no effective way of checking on where they are going to and who is using them

  • board_surfer
    13 years ago

    banning knife sales on ebay will save exactly zero lives

    #13 i am sure folk think collecting star wars figures is equally as idiotic.

    Idiots dont collect knives, idiots stick them in folk.

  • Uncle Sam
    13 years ago

    and thats not to mention all the sponsored links to kung fu and martial arts weapon suppliers

    They won’t sell you a bladed weapon without a mountain of paperwork, insurance documentation, proof you’re a club instructor, etc, etc. At least they shouldn’t, after the changes to the law last year.

    And I respect eBays’ stance on the knife ban.

    Incidentally, wasn’t the argument that people may loose their livelihoods used to defend fox hunting? I felt it was a bit tenuous then, too – especially here when presumably most legit knife sellers will be sellign all kinds of other outdoor gear as well?

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    ok kitchen knives can kill you , a screwdriver will kill you ,a ball point pen stuck in your eye is not that good for your health either,

    its the youth knife carrying culture that is the problem
    I cant see Ned the Nerd flashing his pozidrive screwdriver in the bus shelter to get street cred

  • The three folding knives Watchdog brought were not actually illegal ‘flick knives’. In the US, that term is used to describe knives with thumb studs.

    http://tablebear.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/watchdog-report-lables-legal-manual-knives-illegal-flick-knives-ebay-bans-knife-sales/

  • Craggy
    13 years ago

    Please aquaint yourself with the facts before mis-reporting stories such as this.

    It is not illegal to describe a knife as ‘military’ as this is a legitimate term. You cannot use such terms as ‘Combat’ ‘Stealth’ ‘Covert’ etc. but ‘Military’ is accepted, and rightly so.

    Anyone who believes this is anything more than cynical political posturing is fooling themselves, and reporters who are ignorant of the basic facts do not help.

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    I dont believe its cynical political posturing

    I dont quite fancy sitting on an aircraft along with some nutter with a plastic knife bought from ebay that has bypassed the scanner

  • 13 years ago

    #21 “I dont quite fancy sitting on an aircraft along with some nutter with a plastic knife”

    I’ll raise your plastic knife with a Ryan *Death Plunge* Air Chicken Ceaser Wrap, that shi* kills you real slow.

  • Craggy
    13 years ago

    #21I “dont quite fancy sitting on an aircraft along with some nutter with a plastic knife bought from ebay that has bypassed the scanner”

    Of course – but a blanket ban does nothing to thwart crime.

    Or should we all surrender our cars in an effort to stamp out the thousands of drink driving / speeding / dangerous driving deaths?

    Sound silly? It’s just the same logic applied to another everyday item capable of being misused.

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    A razor sharp blade designed to attract the young and irresponsible, is, not really an every day item that sometimes kills by misuse or accident,
    its designed specifically for the purpose of death and injury, the less their are available from any source,never mind ebay, the better it is for society

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    I dont do Ryan,
    British Airways are much healthier lol

  • Martin
    13 years ago

    My god what an over reaction!!!

    The knife itself is not the problem it is the hands that use them.

    I can remember the days as a child when we all carried a knife of some sort.
    I was even bought a bone handled sheath knife by my parents with the scouting logo on the sheath as a present for (you guessed it) being in the Scouts.

    We didn’t go round stabbing people. The worst we got up to was playing splits or carving our names in trees 😀 .

    I still am an active bushcrafter (so is my 12 year old son) to practise any type of bushcraft you need one very important TOOL a Knife!!!

    For those of you who do not know what bushcraft is watch the Ray Mears / Bear Grills type programs and tell me honestly that we are as #13 puts it a “bunch of idiots”

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that to purchase a knife on ebay.uk you have to go through an age verification system that works very well.

  • pete
    13 years ago

    #27 to be honest, I stand by that statement. I think you are stuck in a time that simply doesn’t exist any more.

    And as already mentioned, if you really need a knife that badly buy it from a shop or does your whole life revolve around what eBay do and do not sell.

  • Martin
    13 years ago

    #28 “I think you are stuck in a time that simply doesn’t exist any more”

    You clarify my point well with that statement. It is the modern time attidudes of the young that is the problem not the availability of knives/guns ect..

    “does your whole life revolve around what eBay do and do not sell”
    It does actually as I make my living from ebay.

  • Pete
    13 years ago

    It’s quite clear that some people are having great difficulty with the idea that by reducing how easy it is to purchase these knives is a good thing.

    …I would wager that nothing anyone could say would change their warped way of thinking.

  • Martin
    13 years ago

    Sigh! In the same case. It is also quite clear that some narrow minded individuals cannot get into there Head around the fact that specialist knives are also used for hobby / work purposes, which many sellers have built a honest business around. (Not me by the way)

    I totaly agree that alot of the knives sold on Ebay should be removed as they serve no other purpose than the “mine is bigger and sharper than yours” mob. What I object to is the knee jerk “blanket ban” on all knives.

  • craggyside
    13 years ago

    Pete – Please allow me to re-post this from a similar discussion on another part of this site. This was posted in response to similar views to your own and I feel it may be enlightning.

    “It is true that outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hikers, bushcrafters, wood carvers, leather workers, DIY’ers etc, etc, can indeed buy knives elsewhere – but why should these groups be criminalised and viewed as suspect? Why should these legitimate users have a popular online resource removed when it will serve no purpose?

    You state that “the argument that a knife is only a tool is a little weak”
    Why?
    A knife is an inanimate object – it cannot contol your motivations, actions or intentions. You will never find a knife being used in a violent attack that has not been in the hands of a criminal.

    A screwdriver is just a tool. These are commonly used as weapons. Must we ban these also? How about hammers, baseball bats, iron bars, glass bottles??

    According to a recent study on knife crime evidence and policy (ccjs) “…stabbings are not caused merely by the presence of a knife”

    It also goes on to state and “Enforcement and punitive action on knife carrying and knife use fails to take account of the fact that it is merely one expression of interpersonal violence, and a reduction in the use of knives will only occur if the incidence of violence is addressed by a long term strategy” “The knife is merely an implement used in crime”

    Ban knives and criminals will pick up any one of a multitude of household items which can be turned into weapons. Should we all hand in our cars as they are also everyday tools capable of being turned into a deadly weapon if in the hands of a criminal?

    I’m afraid your analogy refering to child pornography is fatally flawed. The production of this material is a crime, the existence of this material is a crime, the use of this material is a crime. The material cannot exist without the committing of a crime.

    Production of knives is legal, the purchase, storage, use, collection or importation of knives is legal. They can of course be turned to criminal use – and it is this we must address.

    I personally am not so much concerned with WHAT people use to kill each other but WHY they value human life so little, WHY they feel motivated to attack and WHAT can we do to instill respect, understanding, compassion and empathy into our disaffected youth and re-integrate them into the society they feel so alienated from.

    All the time we dance about the real issues, all the wasted and misguided initiatives we throw at the problem, all the time the focus is on the implement rather than the criminal we will fail to resolve this issue and that should make us all ashamed.”

  • Pete
    13 years ago

    When you say:
    “You will never find a knife being used in a violent attack that has not been in the hands of a criminal.”

    …Are you serious, that’s like saying “when looking for something, why is it always in the last place you look”…Because that’s when you stop looking!

    The act of stabbing someone (generally) MAKES you a criminal.

    Until parents are able to raise their children to respect society as a whole, we HAVE to do what we can to reduce the dangers to the rest of us.

    If you have a genuine reason to buy a hunting or whatever knife then go to a licensed shop and buy one. I think that it should be the same as guns, you want one then you have to apply to own one.

    I would guess that you hold a belief that everyone has basic human rights, regardless of their crime and that the disaffected youth of today are as much a victim as anyone else. Well, I say if you are carrying a knife, you go to prison…end of no chances.

  • Andy
    13 years ago

    Lets ban kitchen knives and all eat with plastic knives and forks – ban cars, trains , planes , smoking eating and drinking – lets all live longer!!!!

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    if banning knifes saves just one life I am quite happy to forgo my human rights on the matter

  • FenLex
    13 years ago

    Fine sentiment but banning cars would save a lot of lives too. Should eBay Motors be shut down?

  • northumbrian
    13 years ago

    36

    what bloody ridiculous statement!

  • Cambridge_Blue
    13 years ago

    #35
    Well I for one am not!
    Perhaps you should spend a few minutes at your local war memorial and reflect on the millions of people who gave their lives to defend the rights and freedoms that you now seem so happy to give up.
    As with much in life there there are ‘costs’ to much that we do and how we choose to live – simple as that.

  • craggyside
    13 years ago

    #33 – “The act of stabbing someone (generally) MAKES you a criminal.”

    Yes – but the law has been broken long before the stabbing occurs. Being in posession of a bladed article without good reason (Sub-3″ non-locking knives exempt) is against the law.

    Carrying any item with the intention to use it as a weapon is against the law.

    The actual attack is the last in a line of offences.

    Stating we could buy our hunting knives from a licensed outlet again misses the point – the vast majority of violent attacks are committed using kitchen knives – we only see hunting / military style knives pictured in the papers because they look scary. Must we license every household item capable of being misused for violent purposes?

    It may come as a surprise but I am not a bleeding heart liberal – I don;t think criminals are poor misguided little lambs that ust need a good cuddle – anyone who attacks or equips themselves with the intention to attack another person with ANY implement be it knife, screwdriver, hammer etc. should go to prison – end of story.

    It is time we put the focus on the person not the tool.

    ********
    Anyone interested in this area should go online and look up a publication called “Knife Crime – A review of evidence and Policy” published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. It’s a free PDF file that will show you the factual evidence based analysis of this issue rather than the sensationalised, overblown and downright misleading standard popularist media viewpoint. Very interesting reading.

    *********

  • Pete
    13 years ago

    I agree with what you say regarding kitchen knives BUT it’s the culture of knives that’s is the problem. You will most likely find that most people who are arrested for stabbing someone with a bread knife etc also own a lock knife, sword etc.

    They see using a blade as cool, effective, tough or whatever. When it comes to actually using the weapon they pick up the nearest knife, not a block of wood or a chair.

    …At the end of the day I blame the parents… 😉

  • M
    13 years ago

    i am 16 and i have an ebay account…i have brought knives etc… i use the knives for various hobby/diy needs… such as laying carpet and cutting thin plastic to cover my planes…i think removing ALL knives off ebay is crazy and will not help in anyway to stop knife crime…it is exceptionally easy to get a knife ‘on the streets’ so banning any knives on ebay will not even help the teenage knife culture i live in today!!! if i was going to get a knife to kill someone i would not risk incriminating myself by using ebay…i would get it from ‘my so called friends’ who know doubt know 18+ cousins/uncles etc who would buy them knives!!!
    LEAVE ARE HUMAN RIGHTS ALONE [DO NOT BAN ANY KNIVES ON EBAY EXCEPT THOSE WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HARMING PEOPLE]this is a hard issue to solve but ebay should actually work and do selective banning not a blanket ban!!!
    WHAT WE ACTUALLY NEED TO DO IS SOLVE THE GANG CULTURE AND KNIFE CULTURE THAT IS DESTROYING OUR BRITISH SOCEITY!!! WHICH PEOPLE GAVE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE TO SAVE!!!!!

    I AM REALLY 16…AND AM VERY IRRATE AT STUPID PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE LIVING IN A SOCEITY WHERE THEY ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKED UPON AS DOING SOMETHING ILLIEGAL ETC

    FROM A VERY IRATE TEENAGER!!!

  • M
    13 years ago

    BTW: I ALSO BLAME THE PARENTS!!! SOME PARENTS DO NOT GIVE A F**K WHAT THERE KIDS DO AND INSOME CASES THE PARENTS ACTIVLY ENCHORAGE ILLIEGAL ACTIVITY!!! AND MOST THE THE IRRSPONSIBLE PARRENTS ARE ALSO INVLOVED IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY!!! I HAVE HAD FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE OF THIS AND AM NOT JUST TALKING OUT OF MY A**HOLE [REAR END]

  • 13 years ago

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