TEENAGERS have been warned about the dangers of carrying knives after a Gazette investigation uncovered children as young as 13 are arming themselves.
Figures released to The Gazette through a Freedom of Information request revealed the youngest person to have a knife seized from them in the resort this year was just 13.
In total, of the 61 knives taken off the streets of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre this year, seven were seized from teenagers – and police said in their eyes that is seven too many.
Chief Insp Ian Mills, from Blackpool Police, said: “I think the picture on knife crime has significantly improved, especially where young people are concerned as incidents are few and far between.
“However, there have been seven incidents over the past year and as far as we are concerned that is seven too many. My message to those people who carry knives and similar weapons is don’t.
“We will use all our policing powers and resources such as stop and search and knife arches to seize weapons and those people in possession of them will face prosecution.”
The 13-year-old boy had the knife seized from him in Blackpool on July 3, while on October 17 two girls, aged 15 and 16, also had knives taken from them in the resort.
The other seizures from teenagers saw a knife taken from 15-year-old boys in Blackpool in January and September, a blade taken from another 15-year-old boy in Poulton in May and from a 16-year-old in Blackpool last December.
The tragic consequences of knife crime were seen when 16-year-old Sam Brown was stabbed to death near his Grange Park home five years ago.
Thomas Knowles, then 19, from Grange Park, admitted manslaughter and was jailed for a minimum of six years in 2008.
Now, in a bid to highlight the dangers to teenagers, police have joined forced with the Ambulance Service to create a hard-hitting DVD warning of the horrific consequences of carrying a knife.
The film – made with pupils from Montgomery High School – will form part of the Be Sharp Think Sharp campaign and is designed to show pupils the full horror of carrying a knife.
It shows exactly what the ambulance service face when they arrive at the scene of a knife attack, and it is hoped it will have a profound impact on teenagers.
Dave Rigby, North West Ambulance Service sector manager for Fylde, said: “You can try to imagine what the effects of a knife attack are.
“But the stark reality is that if you arrive to treat a victim, the wounds caused are indescribable.
“Not to mention the psychological effects caused to the patient, the clinician and the attacker.
“The DVD and presentation combined provide a powerful visual of the consequences of knife attacks.”
Chief Insp Mills added: “It is important that we educate young people around the dangers and the consequences of carrying knives or sharp weapons.
“Statistics show that those that carry knives often have their own weapons used against them and that they in fact become the victim.
“They also need to understand the consequences of carrying a knife – you will receive a criminal conviction which could cost you your chosen career or even your life.”
The new DVD will soon be in schools to support the Be Sharp Be Safe campaign, which has already reached over 65,000 pupils in the force’s bid to crack down on knife crime.
And Nigel Duckworth, from Montgomery High School, on All Hallows Road, Bispham, said educating youngsters on the dangers of knives was vitally important.
He said: “The prevalence of violent crime is unnerving.
“Anything we can do to highlight the repercussions, both to the attacker and the victim, that can work to discourage carrying of knives is a high priority.”
Although knife crime is not a problem at Lytham St Annes High Technology and Performing Arts College, headteacher Phil Wood said it was still essential to make pupils aware of the dangers.
He said: “Children do need to be made aware that carrying these weapons is illegal and of the incredible dangers of doing so.
“It is important for children to be aware of the dangers.”