Pistols, truncheons and knives seized as part of week-long operation in Northamptonshire

Just some of the weapons seized as part of the operation across Northamptonshire.
Just some of the weapons seized as part of the operation across Northamptonshire.

More than a dozen people have been arrested and weapons from pistols to axes have been seized as part of a week-long operation in Northamptonshire.

Between February 12 and 18, the force took part in Operation Sceptre, which saw every force in England and Wales take action to tackle knife crime, following a 21 per cent national increase in 2017.

An officer holds one of the knives seized last week.

An officer holds one of the knives seized last week.

A test purchase operation using volunteers from Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets found six shops broke the law by selling knives to under-18s.

Other activities included the use of knife arches to scan people entering venues, a knife amnesty, a joint operation with British Transport Police at Northampton railway station and intelligence-led raids and searches.

In total 32 weapons were seized.

Inspector Sara-Louise Harlock, who led the Operation Sceptre work, said: “We are dedicated to protecting our communities from knife crime and the harm it causes.

“Carrying a knife increases your risk of being the victim of a knife attack, and it is extremely pleasing to have removed so many potentially deadly weapons from our streets during Operation Sceptre.

“The arrests we have made prove our commitment to this issue and illustrate the legal consequences of choosing to carry a knife. Don’t risk your future, or your life, by doing so.”

The force’s Operation Sceptre work resulted in the seizure of 16 knives, including machetes, hunting and zombie knives, and two firearms. Other items found being carried as weapons included metal bars, a Taser, hammers and an axe.

There were six knife-related arrests, with offences including possession of an offensive weapon and armed robbery. Others included nine related to the possession or supply of Class A and B drugs, possession of a firearm, sexual assault, possession of criminal property, and drunk and disorderly.

Figures for the knife amnesty are being tallied. A knife amnesty box can be found at Wellingborough police station’s enquiry desk.

Responsible retail

As part of the national Operation Sceptre work, the National Police Chiefs’ Council called for retailers to stop selling knives to under-18s to help keep communities safe. It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade measuring 3in (7.62cm) or less.

To monitor retailer compliance, test purchase operations were carried out in stores in Northampton, Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough with the help of members of Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets.

The volunteers, all aged under 18, were able to buy knives in six of the 35 stores – three in Northampton, two in Kettering, and one in Corby. Trading Standards is now investigating.

Information relating to knife crime, or about anyone who carries a knife, can be reported via 101 or online at www.northants.police.uk/webform/online-crime-reporting or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.