A GARDEN centre boss has accused trading standards of entrapment after it sent a child test purchaser into his shop.

Brent and Harrow Trading Standards regularly try to catch businesses selling products to people too young to buy them and one child picked up a pruning saw at Shoots Garden Centre, in Common Road, Stanmore.

Piers Mummery, the shop’s managing director, said the shop assistant who sold the blade was a 16-year-old, just a few weeks into his first job.

He said: “It incensed me because I felt totally stitched-up. He was only 16. This poor kid was almost in tears. I think entrapment is the wrong approach.”

The shop stocks around 40 items which he believes could be used as weapons, including garden forks.

But Mr Mummery claims he has had no advice from trading standards about which ones staff are allowed to sell to children and which they are not.

He said: “If someone wants to go and stab someone they're not going to get into a car and go to the garden centre and buy a pruning saw.

“I'm sitting here thinking surely there's a more collaborative way to get this message across.

“If trading standards want to work in partnership they need to be more collaborative and get the retailers on side because they're wasting my time.”

Officers have asked Mr Mummery to come in for a formal interview but the meeting was cancelled and he is now having trouble rescheduling it.

He said: “I felt scapegoated. We were trying to do everything right. They entrapped us and now they are back-peddling.”

Ash Shah, of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, said changes to the age restriction on sales of knives, from 16 to 18, had been in the public eye for a number of weeks, as had problems with young people and knife crime.

He said: “The Home Office has basically said that there’s no other way to test whether sales of age restricted goods take place apart from to use children.”