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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
“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.
"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: