Blackpool Foxhall Market trader arrested after thousands of deadly weapons seized in police raid

A market trader in Blackpool was arrested after police raided a stall and seized thousands of knives, swords, machetes and crossbows, as well as baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire.

By Matthew Calderbank
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 3:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 6:25 pm

The enormous haul of menacing weapons were seized from Foxhall Market in Dale Street, near Central Pier, on Monday afternoon (July 4).

Officers confiscated around 3,000 weapons with some of them found on display next to children’s toys.

In pictures shared with the Gazette, the frightening stock of weapons – like props out of a grisly slasher film – can be seen laid out for inspection at Blackpool Police Station.

Some of the weapons seized from Foxhall Market in Dale Street, Blackpool on Monday, July 4

But these weapons are all too real and include thousands of razor-sharp ‘zombie knives’, samurai swords and hunting knives, as well as crossbows, baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and even switch blades disguised as wallets and make-up cases.

Some of the weapons, such as ‘zombie knives’, are banned in the UK and it is illegal to sell or possess them, but others – including machetes and hunting knives – can be sold to anyone aged 18 or over.

However, the trader must be licenced to sell these items, otherwise any sale, regardless of the age of the person buying it, would be illegal.

Insp Jon Campbell-Smith, who led the raid, did not say whether the trader is suspected of selling the weapons to those aged under 18.

Hunting knives were among the hoard of deadly knives, swords and other weapons on sale at Foxhall Market in Blackpool

But he confirmed the man was arrested on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons, possession of class A drugs and possession with intent to supply.

He was further arrested on suspicion of religiously motivated public order (threatening words or behaviour directed towards a person based on their religion).

Police also found suspected edible drug products for sale at the market, including so-called ‘cannabis lollipops’ priced at £1 each.

The man was taken into custody and interviewed before being released under investigation whilst further enquiries are conducted.

Some of the swords seized from Foxhall Market in Dale Street, Blackpool on Monday, July 4

Cllr Neal Brookes, cabinet member for public protection at Blackpool Council, said he was ‘horrified’ to see the lethal weapons for sale in the resort.

He said: “It is horrifying to see knifes and other bladed products for sale alongside normal household goods and novelty items. Unfortunately a lot of these products can be sold legally.

“We work closely with the police to carry out visits and jointly use the enforcement powers we have to tackle illegal trading.

“Our Trading Standards team is constantly visiting businesses across the town to ensure that traders are operating within the law and consumers are protected.

Police also found baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire - priced at £45 - for sale at Foxhall Market in Blackpool

“In addition, regular test purchasing exercises are carried out to ensure that age-restricted products are not sold to children and young people.”

In addition to the items seized by the police, Trading Standards officers seized a number of items believed to be counterfeit, including a supply of electronic cigarettes.

Insp Jon Campbell-Smith said the Foxhall Market raid was carried out after complaints from members of the community.

He said: “Blackpool Neighbourhood officers assisted by Blackpool Council Community Safety Team and Trading Standards attended Foxhall Market in Blackpool, following concerns raised by members of the community that items were being sold within.

"On arrival officers found suspected edible drug products, an array of different weapons including knives, machetes and cross-bows, along with a number of items including electronic cigarettes which were believed to be counterfeit.

“Due to items found, a male was arrested at the location for four offences, namely possession with intent to supply, possession of offensive weapons, possession of Class A drugs and for a religiously motivated public order offence.

These were just some of the 3,000 bladed weapons seized from Foxhall Market near Central Pier in Blackpool after a police raid on Monday (July 4)

"We will continue to work with our partners to protect our communities from the impact of criminality, while making it clear that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Are these types of weapons legal or not?

Insp Jon Campbell-Smith explained: “There are a number of weapons that are legal to sell in the UK to persons over 18. However, the trader has certain obligations on them such as only selling to persons over the age of 18, having measures in place to ensure that items are not sold to those under 18 and a mechanism to record refused sales.

"If a trader is not licenced to sell these items, then any sale, regardless of who to would be illegal.

“Any sale would become illegal if the shop were selling them to persons under 18 or believe the person buying them was buying them for someone under 18.

"Offences relating to this can result in a maximum of four years in prison.”

He added there are banned weapons, which are illegal to possess, sell, hire, lend or import. These include the following weapons:

Banned weapons

Butterfly knives – Also known as ‘balisongs’. A handle that splits in the middle to reveal a blade

Disguised knives – A blade or sharp point hidden inside something that looks like an everyday object such as a buckle, phone, brush or lipstick

Flick knives or gravity knive – Also known as ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’

Folding knives – where the blade opens automatically, by gravity or by pressing a button or something else on the knife.

Stealth knives – Non-metal knives or spikes which are not made for use at home, for food or as a toy.

Zombie knives – A knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence.

Swords – A curved blade over 50 centimetres, with some exceptions such as antiques, swords made to traditional methods, or swords made before 1954.

Swordstick – A hollow walking stick or cane containing a blade.

Push dagger – A knife where the handle fits within a clenched fist and the blade comes out from between two fingers.

Blowpipes – Sometimes known as ‘blow guns’. A hollow tube out of which hard pellets or darts are shot by the use of breath.

Telescopic truncheons – A knife that extends automatically, or by pressing a button or spring that is in or attached to the handle.

Batons – Straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheons.

Hollow Kubotan – A cylinder-shaped container containing a number of sharp spikes

Shurikens – Also known as ‘shaken’, ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’. A hard non-flexible plate with three or more sharp radiating points, designed to be thrown.

Kusari gama – A sickle attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kyoketsu shoge – A hook-knife attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kusari or ‘manrikigusari’ – A weight or hand grip attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Handclaws – A band of metal or other hard material worn on the hand, from which sharp spikes come out.

Footclaws – A bar of metal or other hard material worn on the foot, from which a number of sharp spikes come out.

Knuckle dusters – A band of metal or other hard material worn on one or more fingers.

Cyclone or spiral knives – A blade with one or more cutting edges that form a spiral and come to a point.

Belt buckle knife – A buckle which incorporates or conceals a knife.

These disguised knives were found with blades hidden inside. They are made to look like an ordinary leather wallet