Smuggled knives are seized at port

THESE lethal looking weapons are today off the streets of Britain after criminals tried to smuggle them through the Port of Felixstowe.

Richard Cornwell

THESE lethal looking weapons are today off the streets of Britain after criminals tried to smuggle them through the Port of Felixstowe.

Officers who seized the array of dangerous knives at Britain's biggest container port said they could easily have ended up on the country's streets in the hands of criminals.

A major investigation has now been launched into the 350 Chinese knives with razor sharp blades found by UK Border Agency officers in a container which arrived at Felixstowe from the USA.

There has been growing concern at the level of knife crime with a number of stabbings causing death and serious injury - particularly incidents among young people - on the increase this year.

Jim Jarvie, the agency's deputy head of detection for central England described the haul as a “significant amount”.

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He said: “The UK Border Agency is committed to stopping any illegal weapons entering the UK through the ports and airports, playing a vital role in protecting our communities from the violence and corruption that always accompany this type of illegal activity.

“Credit must be given to the officer's detection skills, without which these very nasty weapons would have reached the streets of our cities and into the hands of criminals.”

The 384 knives were six to eight inches long.

They were branded as lethal weapons and seized under the Customs and Excise Management Act.

Further enquiries are ongoing into the incident following the seizure, which was made on Monday.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that anyone over the age of 16 could be prosecuted for carrying a knife in future.

The government hopes this will drive home the seriousness of carrying a weapon and try to discourage youngsters.

The director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald said: “It has become fashionable to carry a knife. What we want people to understand is they put themselves at risk carrying these sorts of weapons."

- Anyone with information about illegal activity which they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call the 24 hour hotline 0800 59 5000.