A KNIFE amnesty across Derwentside, which netted items including Samurai swords and axes, is being hailed a success.

Neighbourhood policing officers ran the campaign throughout March to enable people to hand bladed weapons anonymously and safely at local police offices.

PC Alan Patterson, based at Consett, said the people of Consett and Stanley had responded well to the chance to dispose of unwanted knives.

He said 118 knives, two Samurai swords and two axes were surrendered and will now be safely disposed of.

PC Patterson said: “Most of these bladed items will have been lying around in people’s houses or gardens and now they have been handed in the potential for them to find their way into the wrong hands and onto the streets has been removed. I’d like to thank the public for their response to this amnesty.”

Supported by the Consett North Partnership and Consett YMCA, the neighbourhood policing teams will continue to work with local youth groups and schools to educate on the consequences of carrying offensive weapons.

PC Patterson said: “It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with them in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding three inches.

“However, certain types of knife are banned, including any knife that has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, sometimes known as a flick knife. Lock knives are also illegal.”

PC Patterson said Durham Constabulary takes a robust approach to tackling those carrying knives.

Anyone who is found carrying a knife will be charged, except in extremely exceptional circumstances, and anyone suspected of using that knife to commit crime will be charged to appear in court the following day.

He said the use of weapons to commit crime is rare in the Consett and Stanley areas but campaigns like this can only benefit the community.