A BLADE hidden in a walking stick surrendered in Pembrokeshire was among more than 660 knives handed in across mid and west Wales as part of an amnesty campaign.

Dyfed-Powys Police took part Operation Sceptre, the national knife crime awareness and amnesty campaign, from March 11 to 17, visiting shops, schools, youth clubs and partner agencies to advise on the laws around selling and carrying knives.

Knife amnesty bins were also placed at police stations in each of the force’s four divisions, where people could dispose of blades with no questions asked.

Inspector Tim Davies, who led the operation, said: “Op Sceptre was an opportunity for us to educate people about the laws around selling and carrying knives, as well as allowing people to hand in knives or blades as part of the amnesty."

In Pembrokeshire, 115 knives and blades were collected at amnesty bins, including a walking stick with a concealed blade and a machete.

Milford Mercury:

A total of 326 blades were handed in across Carmarthenshire, including nine swords, one axe and one knuckle duster.

Around 200 of these blades were surrendered at the amnesty bin at Carmarthen Police Station.

In Powys and Ceredigion, 137 and 41 blades were handed in respectively, including a sword and an axe.

Inspector Davies added: “During this week, 661 knives have been taken off the streets, many of which were illegal items with concealed blades, which is a significant increase on the number of knives surrendered during the previous operation in September.

“We understand that this increase might cause concern in our communities, and we would like to assure that Dyfed-Powys remains a safe area to live and work.

“Our force has a lower rate of knife crime than the national average – in the year ending March 2018, there were 31 crimes involving knives per 100,000 of the population in Dyfed-Powys. Across Wales, this figure stands at 37, and nationally there were 69 knife crimes per 100,000 people during the same period.

Milford Mercury:

“We attribute the higher number of knives surrendered during this amnesty to the increased awareness of knife crime nationally, and not to an increase in knife-related crime in Dyfed-Powys.”

During the week-long operation, officers visited shops across the force area, advising on the laws around selling knives.

During one visit to a store in Haverfordwest, officers were given 42 credit card knives to dispose of.

They were handed a box containing 42 black plastic items around the size of a credit card. On opening the card, a hidden blade was revealed which could lock in place.

Knives with a lockable blade are illegal to carry, so officers took the items away to be destroyed.

Neighbourhood teams also took the opportunity to work with businesses, community groups and partner agencies, looking at ways in which they can work together to combat knife crime.

Though the amnesty period has ended, anyone with information about illegal knives is encouraged to come forward and call 101.