Knives, booze and large umbrellas - the items seized at Northamptonshire's courts

Court visitors are banned from taking a number of certain items in

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 6:30 am
Northampton Crown Court

If you've ever been to a courthouse you'll be familiar with what happens when you enter the building.

Security staff will ask you to empty your pockets and show them the inside of your bag. They often ask you to take a sip of your drink.

All of this is to keep us all safe, given some of the horrific cases which are heard there.

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For most people it's not an issue, but some are only allowed to enter once a prohibited item is taken from them.

There's a long list of things you can't take into court. Some, like guns and illegal knives, are obviously weapons. Others, like umbrellas, may seem harmless but could be used as a weapon.

Using Freedom of Information laws, this newspaper has obtained a breakdown of the items seized this year by security at the county's three main courts - Northampton Crown Court in Lady's Lane, which is also the entrance to the county court and family court, Northampton Magistrates' Court in Campbell Square and Wellingborough Magistrates' Court in Midland Road.

The request revealed a total of 46 knives - of which 10 were illegal to carry - were seized along with 74 other weapons.

At the Northampton Crown Court entrance a shocking eight knives which were illegal to carry, with a blade bigger than 3in, were seized. Twelve legal knives were also taken.

Security staff also seized cutlery 53 times, 517 glass bottles and three 'protest materials'.

A total of 115 classic large umbrellas were also taken at the entrance before being returned when the owner left.

Just across the road at Northampton Magistrates' Court, the county's busiest courthouse, 24 knives were seized including one illegal one.

The list of items taken also included 70 other weapons, 129 tools, 227 alcoholic drinks, 131 'sharps' and 62 motorcycle helmets

At Wellingborough Magistrates' Court, which sits just a couple of days a week to hear speeding and youth court cases, just seven items were seized all year.

Two of these were knives - with one illegal to carry.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman previously said: "All court users are searched for prohibited items on entry, items include any article that could be used as a weapon, such as a pen knife or an item made of glass.

"Most of the items confiscated are everyday household objects and not carried as a weapon or with the intent to harm. We remove these to maintain a safe and secure environment, free of items that could potentially be used as a weapon.

"Any illegal article is reported immediately to the police. Knives confiscated with blades under 3in are small blades such as pen-knifes or keyring knives."