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This lethal weapon can be bought with pocket money.

Byline: DAVID POWELL and SARAH HOOLEY

THIS lock knife is easy to conceal and potentially deadly.

Yet it was readily available yesterday for just pounds 1. 29 from a Colwyn Bay shop - just a few minutes drive from the scene of a fatal stabbing on New Year's Day.

The killing of 27-year-old Paul Michael Harrison was the second fatal knife attack in Colwyn Bay in less than eight months.

A teenager was also stabbed to death in Abergele during the summer - prompting a police crackdown on people carrying knives in public.

The stainless steel bladed weapon - marked for ``camping, fishing or hunting'' - was bought from a shop on Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay.

The shop was doing nothing wrong in selling the knife to our reporters.

But the purchase demonstrated how easy these weapons are to buy - and for the price of a few sweets.

The knife, which has a clip to attach it to a belt or pocket lip, was sold with no questions asked by the shop assistant.

Only in Woolworths in Colwyn Bay did we find a knife with a warning on the packaging.

The pounds 3. 99 Excell French chef titanium-edged knife was said to be ``Not for sale to persons under 16".

Proof of age may be required. ''

Its advertising said it was sos harp further ``attempts to sharpen it may actually damage the blade. ''

More knives were readily available in Conwy.

A young shop assistant sold us a pounds 13. 95 Petzl Spatha brand knife with a three-inch blade and a three year guarantee.

Again, no questions were asked about what the blade was to be used for.

Meanwhile in Llandudno, numerous Swiss Army knives were on sale in Mostyn Street.

One, a red-handled Huntsman knife, costs pounds 24. 99, and is bristling with a blade as well as a screwdriver, wire stripper, scissors and a woodsaw. Again - a lethal weapon in the wrong hands.

Llandudno mayor Janet Finch Saunders, who is also Conwy council's cabinet member for community safety and a shopkeeper in Colwyn Bay, said: ``I think the public generally need to be aware a knife is a knife, whether it's a bread knife, a grapefruit knife or a pocket knife. ''

Popular dad-of-two Mr Harrison, of Bevan Avenue, Mochdre, died at a New Year's Eve party after a fracas broke out on Pentraeth on the Peulwys Estate, Old Colwyn.

The knife plague

RISING numbers of youths banned from school are carrying knives as weapons, Home Office figures show.

Its report, Fear and Fashion, found 10% of boys aged 11 and 12 are reported to have carried a knife or other weapon in the previous year. And 8% admitted attacking someone intending serious harm. By the age of 16, the figure had risen to 24% who have carried a knife and 16% who had attacked somebody intending harm.

The Home Office web site also highlights a 2003 Mori youth survey, which found excluded young people appear more likely to experience crime in the local area where they live and are more likely to carry weapons. It found 46% of excluded young people had admitted having carried a weapon compared to just 16% of those in school.

Peer influences and fashion also seem to play a part in encouraging young people to carry knives.

Fear and victimisation is, however, the main reason why young people carry and brandish a knife. Young people carry knives with the intention to scare, harass or steal.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2005
Words:577
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