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Charity urges youngsters carrying knives to save lives using Barking ‘surrender bin’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 March 2019

Mark Clarkson, Camara Fearon and Alan Bishop from Word 4 Weapons. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONS

Mark Clarkson, Camara Fearon and Alan Bishop from Word 4 Weapons. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONS

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A charity has urged troubled teens who carry knives to make the right choice and hand in their weapons.

Knives collected from one 'surrender bin'. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONSKnives collected from one 'surrender bin'. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONS

Word 4 Weapons collects blades from deposit bins across the capital including from outside the Salvation Army church in Ripple Road, Barking.

The charity’s operations manager, Mark Clarkson, addressing young people who carry knives, said: “Make wise choices and stay away from knives.

“If you are fearful for any reason, speak to a responsible adult. If you use your knife, you change your life because you will get caught and all your life choices will be severely worsened.”

The former policeman was speaking in the wake of heightened concern about violence among youngsters sparked largely by the death of 17-year-old student, Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed in a Harold Hill park.

Awards made of knives dropped off at the charity's bins. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONSAwards made of knives dropped off at the charity's bins. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONS

Mark was speaking before a march for Jodie in Dagenham, organised to send a signal to politicians that communities want more action to make streets safe.

“The community has really come together over this. So much that is positive can and will be done as a result. It’s just sad a totally innocent person’s death led to it,” Mark said.

But the 57-year-old was clear that knife crime ruins the lives of the victims and perpetrators whose families are never the same again.

Since it started in 2007 the charity has taken 50,000 knives off the streets with youngsters dropping them into bins located away from CCTV cameras.

A Word 4 Weapons knife bin outside the Salvation Army in Ripple Road.A Word 4 Weapons knife bin outside the Salvation Army in Ripple Road.

The idea is that anyone who wants to get rid of a knife but doesn’t want to hand it in at a police station can do so.

The charity advises youngsters to wrap blades up to allay their concerns about being stopped by police as they make their way to one of Word 4 Weapons’s 18 ‘surrender bins’ in London.

In exchange for blades, youngsters can get information about how to avoid crime and, if they want to, pick up a copy of the Bible.

Deposited knives are then taken away and melted down with some turned into awards handed out by the charity.

Mark Clarkson, Camara Fearon and Alan Bishop from Word 4 Weapons. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONSMark Clarkson, Camara Fearon and Alan Bishop from Word 4 Weapons. Picture: WORD 4 WEAPONS

“We know youngsters have difficulties with some of their choices in life. We just want young people to stop targeting each other,” Mark said.

To volunteer or donate visit word4weapons.co.uk

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