Suffolk Knife Amnesty arrives in Beccles

A POTENTIALLY lethal haul of blades has been deposited during a knife amnesty in Halesworth.

While some appear innocuous, police say they could be deadly in the wrong hands.

The Suffolk-wide amnesty was inspired by 18-year-old anti-knife crime campaigner Holly Watson, whose brother was fatally stabbed in Sudbury in September 2009.

During the campaign, permanent bins have been outside Ipswich, Mildenhall, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds police stations and since December, 4704 bladed or sharp articles have been counted.

Halesworth Police set up a mobile bin in July and saw 69 knives handed in.

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Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant Nigel Tompsett was surprised by the amount of knives handed in but relieved they could no longer pose a threat. He added: 'These could be 69 lives saved or injuries prevented. It removes the opportunity for them to be used as a deadly weapon.'

Last month 377 knives were deposited anonymously in total in the six bins, which included 92 knives handed in, in June, at the permanent bin at Lowestoft Police Station on Old Nelson Street.

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Babergh Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector Paul Crick added: 'The amnesty compliments the work police in Sudbury and Holly herself are doing to make carrying a knife unacceptable. If you carry a knife you could hurt yourself or someone else, and could receive a prison sentence and criminal record which will affect your chances of getting a job, housing and other opportunities in life.

'Sadly a small minority of people still think a knife will protect them – it will just make you more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime or committing one yourself. Anyone can deposit a knife in the amnesty bin over the next two months anonymously, and we will support Holly's school initiative by continuing to educate young people so that carrying a knife becomes socially unacceptable.'

The knife amnesty has now arrived in Holly's home town with one of the mobile bins situated at the Police Station during August and September.

Holly helped launch the Sudbury stage of the amnesty today, and also displayed the wristbands she will be distributing at local schools to pupils who pledge not to carry a knife.

Ms Watson 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.'

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.

A number of other initiatives are planned to run alongside the amnesty, including a community TV commercial.

The mobile bins will be in Beccles during August, and in Sudbury throughout August and September.

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