Sunderland Echo

12-inch knife seized in shopping centre

- Georgina Cutler georgina.cutler@jpress.co.uk @Georgina_GLC

A man was arrested in Sunderland City centre after a 12-inch knife was found tucked inside his trousers during a festive crime operation.

Police arrested a 28-yearold man in Sunderland after officers discovered a large knife tucked inside his waistband during a Christmas operation that saw anti-social behaviour rates plummet.

Bridges Shopping Centre raised the alarm on December 15, after an employee at a clothing store noticed the machete as the defendant bent down to pick up a carrier bag.

On-patrol Community Support Officers (CSOs) in Market Square called for back-up and within minutes officers arrived at the scene to arrest the male.

The man has since been charged with possessing an offensive weapon and will appear in court in the coming weeks.

Sergeant Maria Ord, of Northumbri­a Police, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for anyone carrying a weapon and this was a case of fantastic teamwork between businesses and staff to ensure nobody came to harm and the machete safely seized.

“As expected, we saw a gradual increase in footfall across the city centre throughout December – and that’s why we ran Operation Elf to deal directly with any crime spikes or incidents that arose during the Christmas countdown.”

During the festive operation, police saw a 37 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour reports compared to December 2019, and a 31 per cent reduction for all incidents during the same period.

More than 80 people were proactivel­y stopped or searched by officers in the city centre, and nine arrests were made for offences including possessing an offensive weapon, theft, and failing to appear in court.

Northumbri­a Police and Crime Commission­er, Kim McGuinness, added: “We have to get blades off the streets. In the wrong hands they are deadly and as shown here, any report like this is taken very seriously by Northumbri­a Police.

“We won’t stand still on this – our officers are determined to keep shoppers and local residents safe and Operation Elf is just one example of ongoing work to fight and prevent crime in the area."

The 28-year-old man who was arrested is due to appear before magistrate­s in South Tyneside.

 ??  ?? A 12-inch knife was discovered tucked inside a man’s trousers.
A 12-inch knife was discovered tucked inside a man’s trousers.

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