Beccles knife amnesty's shock haul

Police have been surprised by the number of weapons handed in during an amnesty in a tranquil market town.Beccles is officially one of the safest places in England - but nonetheless a “probably deadly” knuckle-duster with a dagger attached and a home-made mace crafted from a supermarket trolley were handed in during an amnesty.

Police have been surprised by the number of weapons handed in during an amnesty in a tranquil market town.

Beccles is officially one of the safest places in England - but nonetheless a “probably deadly” knuckle-duster with a dagger attached and a home-made mace crafted from a supermarket trolley were handed in during an amnesty.

Also given up in the month-long amnesty were 115 knives, four air pistols and a sword stick.

The Beccles area has the best detection rate in Suffolk and one of the lowest crime rates, while the county is one of the safest in the country.

Insp Tim Powell, who leads the Beccles policing sector, said: “I was quite surprised we had achieved more than 100 knives but pleased that we had such a good response.”

He said just getting the knuckle-duster off the streets had made the amnesty worthwhile.

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“It is a sort of punch and stab affair. In the wrong hands, it is not only a very dangerous piece of equipment but probably deadly. The blade is very long and very sharp,” he said.

“The mace, adapted from a supermarket trolley, is another quite unpleasant item. It would be very nasty in the wrong hands.”

The amnesty bin was placed in the Hungate Lane car park during May, and the knives left in it included flick knives and hunting knives as well as kitchen knives. Police are unsure whether those leaving the knives were young people who might otherwise have used them, or perhaps middle-aged residents who were worried about having potential weapons in the house.

Insp Powell said: “I would like to think it is across the board. Some of these things get into people's homes in a range of ways and people take the opportunity to get rid of them.”

He could not say how many more weapons were still on the streets, but said: “I would like to think Beccles is a safe place. It is probably the safest place in Suffolk, and last year crime was down by 12pc and violent crime was down by 20pc.”

He said there were plans for another amnesty later in the year, which would probably be held in Bungay.

“Whether Southwold is quite ready for an amnesty bin, I don't know,” he added.

“Sometimes you get the strangest things in what you think are the quieter towns.”

Beccles mayor Jeff Harris said: “I am surprised not so much by the number of knives but by the guns and the mace. I think we should congratulate Tim Powell and his team for this proactive policing and remember that we do live in the safest policing sector in England.”