AN alert has been issued by police in Harrogate after a 12-year-old child was found carrying a knife similar to the one used in the school murder at Lincolnshire.

North Yorkshire police in Harrogate fear that other youngsters could also be carrying similar knives.

The weapon was handed over to police by a concerned relative.

Police believe that the blue-handled knife, with a six centimetre serrated blade, is the same kind used in the Lincolnshire school murder in which schoolboy Alan Pennell was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years for stabbing 14-year-old Luke Walmsley at Birkbeck Secondary Schol, North Somercotes.

Sergeant Mark Gee, a member of Harrogate's community police team, said although there was not a national amensty at the moment the public could anonymously hand over knives or other offensive weapons at Harrogate Police Station.

The knife, which could be hooked on to clothing, is not a flick knife but does have a retractable blade.

Sergeant Gee said: "We believe in this case that the knife was being carried around to show off with. But if knives like this are suddenly used in anger they become a lethal weapon.

"We will arrest and prosecutive people who do carry them," he pledged.

The knife which caused concern was handed to a community beat officer in the Bilton area of the town.

"What concerns us is that someone as young as 12 has been carrying a knife like this," added the officer who said he was not able to reveal whether the child was a boy or girl.