New 'knife bins' in Preston and Chorley allow youths to hand in weapons anonymously without fear of arrest
A knife amnesty has been introduced across Lancashire as part of a national crackdown targeting knife crime.
The "Bin your knife" campaign has been launched after four separate stabbings involving youths in Preston and Leyland in the last ten days.
From Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15, the campaign will see 'knife bins' introduced at police stations across Lancashire.
Knife bins can be found at police stations in Preston, Chorley and Blackpool, as well as at Fleetwood, Morecambe, Burnley, Greenbank Blackburn, and Nelson.
The bins will be located discreetly at police stations and will offer people the opportunity to give up their weapons without the risk of arrest.
It is in response to a surge in youth-related knife crime across the UK, with ten teenagers killed in knife attacks in the first two months of 2019.
In Lancashire, between April and December 2018, police recorded 849 crimes where a knife or sharp instrument was used.
This is an increase of 167 from 682 recorded in the same period of the previous year - an increase of 19.6 per cent.
During the same period, all violent crime in these categories rose by 20 per cent.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "Operation Sceptre has been launched by Lancashire Police as part of a national campaign targeting knife crime and those who carry knives.
"We're determined to do everything we can to tackle knife crime in Lancashire and as part of these efforts we're supporting Operation Sceptre, a national week long knife surrender running from today (Monday, 11 March).
"As part of this week and in the longer term we'll also be pro-actively targeting wanted offenders, working with schools and partners to educate young people and using section 60 stop and search powers in known hot spots to keep people safe, especially the young and vulnerable."
How to get rid of unwanted knives
Police hope that the knife bins will encourage people to give up their illegal weapons by disposing them anonymously, safely and legally.
To hand in unwanted knives, people are asked to tape up the blades securely, wrap it in newspaper and place it gently into one of the knife bins at a police station.
Surrendering unwanted knives at a police station is the safest way to dispose of knives and prevents them falling into the wrong hands.
The amnesty is part of a week of action targeting knife crime in Lancashire, which will include the authorisation of stop and search powers and test purchase operations to ensure that retailers are not selling knives to people under the age of 18.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner added: "Knives are deadly weapons and you will be arrested and prosecuted if you are caught carrying one.
"If you own a dangerous knife I'd urge you to protect both yourself and those around you by handing it in safely and anonymously.
"There are temporary bins at police stations across Lancashire. If anyone is in possession of a knife and is unsure what to do about it, we would urge them to take this opportunity to dispose of it anonymously and safely."
Timeline of recent stabbings in and around Preston
On Saturday, March 2, a teenage boy and girl, both aged 16, were arrested over the stabbing of a 17-year-old girl in Fulwood.
On Monday, March 4, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in the arm during a confrontation between rival youth gangs outside Runshaw College in Leyland.
Two men aged 18, both from Preston, an 18-year-old man from Kirkham and three 17-year-old boys from Preston were arrested on suspicion of public order offences. Machetes and knives were later recovered nearby by the police dog unit.
On Friday, March 8, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in Rowan Avenue, Ribbleton at around 5.15pm in what police believe was a targeted attack.
Two days later, on Sunday, March 10, officers were given the power to stop and search people and vehicles without suspicion following the stabbing of a 14-year-old boy in Samuel Street, off New Hall Lane, at around 11.30pm.
If you have any information about people using knives or where they are being kept, you can call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.