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Dozens of blades handed in to Sussex Police
Samurai swords and kitchen knives have been handed in under a knife amnesty in a town rocked by a fatal stabbing.
Dozens of blades have been brought to council offices, police stations and mobile bins in Hailsham this week.
The scheme was set up to help educate young people following the death of 25-year-old Darren Croxton in January and the stabbing of a pensioner in the summer.
Bins have been placed at Wealden District Council, Hailsham Town Council and Hailsham Police Station.
Officers have also brought the bins to street meetings aimed at spreading anti-knife messages to the public.
Mr Croxton was stabbed in Bramble Drive, Hailsham, on January 22.
Stuart Johnson, now 19, and a youth now 17, denied murder at a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on Friday. They are due to be tried at Lewes Crown Court on January 14.
In a second knife crime in July a pensioner suffered a cut face in a street attack in the town centre.
Police said 20 knives were handed over in 20 minutes when they set up a stand in Bowley Road, Hailsham, on Tuesday.
One woman brought out a samurai sword. Sergeant Howard Nevill said the samurai sword was decorative, and said many people were simply taking the opportunity to dispose of household blades.
He said: “We do not expect there to be that many knives in Hailsham in the first place. We are not getting inundated. We are looking to give the opportunity for people who might be thinking of crime in relation to knives to get rid of them now.”
The amnesty is part of an anti-knife campaign in the area aimed at educating young people and others about the dangers of carrying a blade.
Officers gave talks every day for a week at Hailsham Community College to encourage youngsters not to turn to violence to solve problems and not to risk getting involved with knives.
Acting principal Phil Mathews said: “There is no doubt that jointly conveying such an important message to all students has a very positive impact.”
When the amnesty ends this Friday the scheme will switch to encouraging young people to report people who carry or use knives through the Fearless project run by anonymous phoneline Crimestoppers.
Officers also plan to use metal detecting wands in the town centre in the evenings to deter people from taking knives out with them.
Chief Inspector Dick Coates, Sussex Police district commander for Wealden, said: “Although knife crime is extremely low across Wealden there have been a number of high profile cases in Hailsham. With these in mind, it is imperative that we educate young people of the possible consequences of carrying a bladed item.”