PEOPLE in possession of knives are being encouraged to hand them in anonymously as police launch their latest weapons amnesty.

The surrender, which starts today and runs until Friday, will see people able to put knives in designated bins outside Blackburn Greenbank, Burnley, Nelson and Chorley Police Stations.

Senior officers have said the Lancashire Police has a zero tolerance policy toward possession of knives and the amnesty is aimed at trying to prevent fatalities.

The action comes on the back of a number of high-profile incidents in East Lancashire over the last 12 months. Blackburn dad James Murray was fatally stabbed by Lee Kenyon in Largs Road, Blackburn, on October 2, while Jordan Barton was stabbed by the same man 24 hours earlier. A third man was also stabbed in the Mill Hill area of Blackburn on October 1.

A fourth man, Robert Townend, suffered a suffered a lacerated liver, punctured lung and diaphragm after being stabbed in Burnley on November 12.

Chief Inspector Mark Baines said: “Too many families have been affected by knife crime with even one person being stabbed being one too many. The consequences of carrying and using a knife can be devastating and potentially life-threatening.

“I would appeal directly to people that if you know someone who is carrying a knife, don’t keep silent. Report it. The law is simple - it is illegal to carry a knife, even if it belongs to someone else.

“Anyone who is found carrying a knife and is intending to use it as a weapon – even in self-defence - can be arrested, go to court and receive a police record or even a prison sentence of up to four years.”

During the amnesty police will continue to carry out test purchase operations to ensure that retailers are not selling knives to people under the age of 18.

Anyone with information about the possession of knives or offensive weapons can call police on 101.