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Gun seized in anti-knife blitz

PUBLISHED: 18:13 16 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:26 11 August 2010

A POLICE crackdown on knife crime at Barking and Dagenham underground stations during the last two weeks, netted a firearm, blades and drugs. Two men were arrested on Thursday, June 5, during a knife arch operation at Dagenham Heathway Station for posses

A POLICE crackdown on knife crime at Barking and Dagenham underground stations during the last two weeks, netted a firearm, blades and drugs.

Two men were arrested on Thursday, June 5, during a knife arch operation at Dagenham Heathway Station for possession of a firearm, a bladed article and a small amount of cannabis.

The men were among 300 people who were stopped and searched by police officers.

Between the early afternoon and about 6.30pm, officers patrolled the station.

Sgt Gary Routh from River Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "Two males were arrested for possession of a firearm, a bladed article and a small amount of Class C drugs.

"We had one arrest for a man who was wanted, one arrest for fare evasion, one for trespassing, and one for breach of bail.

"It's obviously very rare and unusual to find a firearm."

Test purchase operations in the borough's shops will crack down on the sale of alcohol and knives, to ensure that they don't fall into the wrong hands.

Operation Blunt 2, the Metropolitan Police knife initiative focused on reducing knife crime in ten key boroughs including Barking and Dagenham.

Knife arches have so far been used to detect weapons in major transport hubs like the Heathway and Barking station.

At a press meeting last week, Chief Insp Nick Hancock said: "The aim is to stop the killing of young people."

While stressing the fact that Barking and Dagenham was a safe borough, he said that police would do everything they could to reduce knife crime.

Sgt Brian Fry said: "To put it into perspective, out of over 400 people who went through the knife arch during an operation at Barking Station, not one had a knife."

Det Chief Insp Ellie O'Connor added that in the past 12 months, there had not been a rise in knife crime, and no deaths had been caused by knives in the borough.

"We profile people who are most at risk and most likely to be victims of knife crime," said Sgt Fry.

These, mainly young, people will then be asked to walk through the metal-detecting arch or searched for weapons.

The maximum sentence for the offence for carrying an illegal knife is four years imprisonment.


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