The nationwide police amnesty on knives - the results of which will be released tomorrow - has had little impact on unrestricted trade in the weapons, according to evidence gathered by the BBC1 programme Watchdog, to be broadcast tonight.
Watchdog sent 16-year-old Steven Hale to Liverpool city centre where he bought combat knives with serrated blades almost seven inches long. Although it was not illegal for the shops to sell him the knives, none of the shopkeepers questioned Steven's age or motives.
Detective Inspector John Colligan from Wallasey, Merseyside said: "If [traders] could see the horrendous injuries caused in knife attacks they would consider restrictions as to who they sell knives to."
Home Office figures attribute one third of all killings last year to knife attacks.