A drive to get people across the North East to surrender illegal knives has been launched today as part of a national campaign against knife crime.

People are being urged to dispose of weapons completely anonymously at police run ‘knife bins’ from Monday (November 14) as part of a drive to reduce knife crime and weapon-based violence.

It comes as a 14-year-old boy continues to fight for his life in hospital after an alleged stabbing in Newcastle’s West End on Wednesday (November 9) last week.

Read more: 8 people arrested after stabbing leaves boy, 14, fighting for his life

The teenager remained in a critical but stable condition in hospital over the weekend while eight teens - all aged between 16 and 18 - were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

A total of 11 suspects, including one 15-year-old, remained in police custody.

The Northern Echo: Police at the scene of a stabbing in Elswick, Newcastle on Thursday (November 10) last week.Police at the scene of a stabbing in Elswick, Newcastle on Thursday (November 10) last week. (Image: NNP)

Currently, The Northern Echo continues its campaign against knife crime following warnings from the mothers of murdered teenagers and senior youth leaders that ‘we are failing our children.’

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Last month Tanya Brown and Zoey McGill, who both tragically lost their children to heinous knife crimes, joined The Echo’s calls for action to stop more families being torn apart by fatal stabbings.

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo's front page on Monday, October 17.The Northern Echo's front page on Monday, October 17. (Image: Newsquest)

Tanya’s son Connor was just 18-years-old when he was brutally killed in Sunderland in February 2019 when he received five stab wounds during an altercation over a £5 note.

Zoey’s son Jack Woodley was also 18 when he was violently attacked in October 2021 by a gang of ten youths before he was stabbed with a ‘Rambo-style’ knife by a 15-year-old boy.

Read more: Jack Woodley's mum still visits his grave every night

Writing in a joint letter to then-Prime Minster Liz Truss last month they said: “We want you to look in our eyes and hear our voices so you know the heartache and devastation knife crime creates.”

The Northern Echo: Tanya Brown and Zoey McGill with their letter to then-Prime Minister Liz Truss.Tanya Brown and Zoey McGill with their letter to then-Prime Minister Liz Truss. (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

Grieving families and senior youth workers have warned knife crime is directly related to anti-social behaviour, now worryingly endemic across the North East.

They say there is a direct correlation between the rise in trouble caused by teenagers and the reduction in youth service budgets following swingeing cuts in local authority funding from central Government.

Read more: Police issue update as four arrested after man found dead at North East home

The national campaign launching today (November 14) branded ‘Operation Sceptre’ aims to reduce knife crime and tackle weapon-based violence by allowing people to surrender their knives without fear of prosecution.

Tanya Brown last night made an impassioned plea to young people to use Operation Sceptre as an opportunity to surrender their blades.

The Northern Echo: Tanya's son Connor BrownTanya's son Connor Brown (Image: Contributor)

The Northern Echo: Zoey's son Jack WoodleyZoey's son Jack Woodley (Image: Jack Woodley, 18, died from a stab wound)

Tanya, 42, said: “If you have knives, please use this opportunity to get rid of them without any questions asked and do the right thing.

“It doesn’t matter how you have come across owning a knife, whether you carry one, have one but want rid of it or have been asked by someone to hold onto one.”

Meanwhile four people were arrested in Byker, Newcastle after an alleged stabbing that saw a man in his 40s rushed to hospital with serious injuries late on Saturday (November 12) evening.

The Northern Echo: The scene of a suspected stabbing on Shields Road in BykerThe scene of a suspected stabbing on Shields Road in Byker (Image: NORTH NEWS)

Local lead for Operation Sceptre in County Durham and Darlington, Inspector Michael Sammut, said: “Knife crime can devastate the lives of victims and their families.

“Although County Durham and Darlington has one of the lowest levels of knife crime in the country, we remain committed to protecting our communities by doing everything we can to remove as many unused weapons as possible.

"We know that some people who possess these weapons no longer wish to but are scared to hand them in for fear or prosecution, so this is a way we can help them dispose of the items safely without the fear of repercussions and, in turn, keeps the public safe.

“Our aim is to prevent, protect, educate and enforce where necessary to ensure the weapons don’t get into the wrong hands.”

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