Big response to Suffolk Knife Amnesty in Beccles and Halesworth

A SECOND world war sheath knife, machetes, meat cleavers and a Ninja-style blade are just a handful of nearly 200 sharp objects handed in since the Suffolk Knife Amnesty arrived in Halesworth and Beccles.

Inspired by 18-year-old anti-knife crime campaigner Holly Watson, whose brother was fatally stabbed in Sudbury in September 2009, the year-long campaign has seen the mobile bin placed in Halesworth and most recently Beccles.

Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeant Kevin Howell at Beccles police station said: 'It's a good amount of knives that have been handed in. We are pleased with it. Any of the knives handed in could be another reduction in knife crime.'

The two red mobile amnesty bins are visiting police stations across Suffolk until the end of the year.

One bin placed at Halesworth police station in July saw 69 knives handed in, while Beccles Police Station saw 125 sharp objects handed in during the month of August.

So far a total of 4,986 bladed or sharp articles have been deposited since the Bin a Blade initiative launched in December 2010.

Mr Howell added that although there are few knife crimes reported in the area he was not surprised by the amount of knives handed in at Beccles.

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He said: 'We expected the high showing of kitchen knives. People want to chuck these items out sensibly.'

Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeant Nigel Tompsett at Halesworth was relieved the knives handed in could no longer pose a threat. He added: 'It removes the opportunity for them to be used as a deadly weapon.'

Meanwhile Miss Watson is continuing to educate people about the dangers of carrying knives and said: 'It's quite overwhelming that so many people have come and binned their blades.

'I think it's amazing how many knives have been handed in and every knife taken out of circulation could be a life saved.'

A number of other initiatives are planned to run alongside the amnesty, including a community TV commercial to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife, which is expected to be ready for release in the next few weeks.

All the deposited knives will be taken to Sackers Recycling in Great Blakenham where they will be stored securely. At the end of the amnesty in December 2011, Sackers will tip them all into their metal shredder to be safely disposed of.

Permanent bins are currently placed outside Ipswich, Mildenhall, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds police stations.