THE MUM of a murdered teenager has pleaded with youngsters to stop carrying knives to prevent more heartache.

Kim Kensett spoke to The Argus at the start of Operation Sceptre, a nationwide campaign to tackle knife crime.

It follows incidents over the weekend, which included two men being stabbed in the head in Bognor and and Bexhill, and a picture of a young boy in the street brandishing a knife.

Figures reveal that knife crime in Sussex is up 11 per cent from crime recorded in September 2013 to September last year.

Mrs Kensett, 59, will this month mark the 20th anniversary of her son Jay’s murder in Whitehawk, 100 yards from his home. He was just 16.

She said: “I would say please stop carrying knives. You think you are hard and think no one is going to get hurt.

“But once you’ve done something wrong you can’t just apologise and say sorry like a child. You’ve taken someone’s life. There is no going back from that. When someone dies, it’s forever.”

Mrs Kensett, now a grandmother, says parents worry about knife crime and violence, and said she still fears for all her children and grandchildren.

She said: “I see it is more common now, I worry all the time if they are late from school. All the worst scenarios go through your head.”

Now she wants tougher sentences for those carrying knives, but fears that nothing will change to tackle the problem.

Mrs Kensett said: “The only way it is going to change is if it happens to someone’s son who is high up in the government. Then they might take notice.”

In the wake of Jay’s murder, the parents of one of Jay’s friends, Darren and Lorraine Snow, set up the Crew Club charity in Whitehawk to give youngsters a positive outlet in Whitehawk, but fear politicians are too detached to understand the issue.

Mr Snow said: “As soon as young people feel that there is a need to carry knives, either to protect themselves or as a sign of kudos among their peers, that is worrying in itself.

“What can happen as a result of carrying a knife, the potential outcomes mean there are no winners, on either side. Some people call for more deterrents, but a person has to decide themself that they don’t want to get involved in knife crime. If a person thinks it is OK to carry a knife, that is a dangerous thing for society.”

He called for more education.