Knife crime row erupts amid sales of serrated ‘Rambo knives’ in Blackpool joke shop

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A debate on knife crime has erupted after a South Shore joke shop was found to be selling a number of Rambo- style blades.

Serrated knives, defined as 'a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence', are banned in the UK

Serrated knives, defined as ‘a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence’, are banned in the UK

The sale of serrated knives, known as zombie knives or Rambo knives, is banned under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. From July 14 2021, it became an offence to possess a such a knife, even in private.

Despite this, zombie knives are still frequently sold in some high street shops. The Joke Shop, on Waterloo Road, last week had several serrated blades on sale for as little as £30.

A spokesman for the shop said the knives were not sharpened, and were intended to be purely decorative.

Serrated knives, defined as 'a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence', are banned in the UK

Serrated knives, defined as ‘a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence’, are banned in the UK

She said: “The police came in two days ago, and everything was fine except one thing which was a pen-knife with a Batman sign on it. We have got a firearms licence to sell firearms. We can’t sell anything illegal or we would lose it.

“Over the years things have been made illegal, but if anything that has been struck off has been struck off and are not on sale any more.

“Nine times out of ten, customers will buy a decorative stand to go with it, and anybody we have any doubts about we refuse, and we keep a register of all the people we refuse. It’s all monitored to the best of our ability.”

As well as Rambo knives, the shop also had on sale Gurkha knives, bowie knives, ‘extreme survival’ knives, throwing knives and axes, machetes, and Xenon tactical knives from Kombat UK, which advertises itself as a military supplier.

The Joke Shop on Waterloo Road/Blackpool Promenade

The Joke Shop on Waterloo Road/Blackpool Promenade

An ‘Expendables’ replica blade, a barbed wire-wrapped ‘Lucille’ baseball bat, replica guns, and a stab-proof vest were also on sale to over-25s only.

Councillor Tony Williams, leader of Blackpool Conservatives, said: “These things are sold as weapons. There’s no use for these types of knives other than as weapons. It’s OK saying you’re a collector, but these are still dangerous items and I think any shop keeper that’s selling them should think again, because they are selling something that may be used in a fatal stabbing or murder. They’ve got to look into their own conscience and what they are doing in terms of adding to the problem of knife crime.

“What I would like to see is some sort of register, like with guns in America, where there has to be a record kept of the person who purchased these weapons. But I’d rather see them not on sale at all.

“Knife crime is reducing in Britain, but this isn’t helping at all. It’s a horrible crime that leaves families devastated. Just recently, nine men were arrested following a stabbing at Ma Kelly’s/ It really brings it home.

“I would like to see a voluntary stop to the selling of all these sort of knives in Blackpool.”

The Joke Shop spokesman, however, said: “It’s kitchen knives that are used more than anything (in knife crime). Nine times out of ten, knife attacks are caused by kitchen knives.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Hunting and Archery, on the Promenade, said: “A knife, at the end of the day, is a tool. In the wrong hands, of course it can be deadly.

“I do think the age for byuing them should be raised from 18 to 25. In our store we have a challenge 30 policy, and only sell to over-25s.

“Serrated blades, there are certain ones that can be used for practical purposes, such as gardening saws. But a machete with a massive serrated edge – probably not.

“There are some knives that should not be sold. We get asked on a daily basis for illegal knives. The rules are quite clear, but they’re not well known.”

He added: “I sell some types of specialist knives designed purely for aesthetics which go for £160 or more. A person won’t spend that money on a knife if their aim is purely to do damage to somebody. Whereas you can go into Pouland and pick up a kitchen knife for £1. They are very loosely regulated.”

The council and police both pointed the finger at each other, insisting the other was responsible for addressing the sale of potentially illegal weapons.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “From our perspective, if a visit to the shop was required, we would do it in conjunction with Trading Standards.

“We are not investigating the shop, but the matter has been raised with Blackpool South neighbourhood police team for further enquiries.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We will be looking into this matter alongside our police colleagues and the information gathering process has already started.”

Here are the knives and weapons which are illegal in the UK – and how to recognise them

Butterfly knives: Also known as ‘balisongs’. A handle that splits in the middle to reveal a blade.

Disguised knives: A blade or sharp point hidden inside something that looks like an everyday object such as a buckle, phone, brush or lipstick.

Flick knives or gravity knives: Also known as ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’. Folding knives where the blade opens automatically, by gravity or by pressing a button or something else on the knife.

Stealth knives: Non metal knives or spikes which are not made for use at home, for food or as a toy.

Zombie knives: A knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence.

Swords: A curved blade over 50 centimetres, with some exceptions such as antiques, swords made to traditional methods, or swords made before 1954.

Swordstick: A hollow walking stick or cane containing a blade.

Push dagger: A knife where the handle fits within a clenched fist and the blade comes out from between two fingers.

Blowpipes: Sometimes known as ‘blow guns’. A hollow tube out of which hard pellets or darts are shot by the use of breath.

Telescopic truncheons: A knife that extends automatically, or by pressing a button or spring that is in or attached to the handle.

Batons: Straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheons.

Hollow kubotan: A cylinder-shaped container containing a number of sharp spikes

Shuriken: Also known as ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’. A hard non-flexible plate with three or more sharp radiating points, designed to be thrown.

Kusari gama: A sickle attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kyoketsu shoge: A hook-knife attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kusari or manrikigusari: A weight or hand grip attached to a rope, cord, chain or wire.

Handclaws: A band of metal or other hard material worn on the hand, from which sharp spikes come out.

Footclaws: A bar of metal or other hard material worn on the foot, from which a number of sharp spikes come out.

Knuckle dusters: A band of metal or other hard material worn on one or more fingers.

Cyclone or spiral knives: A blade with one or more cutting edges that form a spiral and come to a point.

Belt buckle knife: A buckle which incorporates or conceals a knife.