The owner and four staff members, including two who live South Leeds, are due to appear in court charged with offences related to the marketing of knives from a Leeds shop.
In December 2021, an operation, led by officers from Leeds North East Neighbourhood Policing Team, saw a search warrant under the Knives Act 1997 executed at the Fantasia store, in Ludgate Hill, Leeds, which was selling knives, machetes and swords.
The Act covers the unlawful marketing of knives in relation to them being marketed in a way which indicates or suggests they are suitable for combat, or is otherwise likely to stimulate or encourage violent behaviour involving the use of the knife as a weapon.
The operation came as part of ongoing work to tackle knife crime involving young people following a number of incidents in the city.
The five have now been charged by postal requisition with offences including marketing a knife as being suitable for combat; publishing material suggesting that a knife was suitable for combat; and exposing offensive weapons for the purpose of sale.
Shop owner Hassan Abbas, aged 43, of Congreve Way, Bardsey, has been charged with five counts of marketing a knife as suitable for combat, eight counts of publishing material indicating a knife was suitable for combat, and two counts of possession of a weapon in private to which Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 applied.
Staff members Dean Lodge, aged 55, of Cottingley Drive, Beeston; Connor Baxter, aged 28, of Leasowe Avenue, Hunslet; and Daniel Corscadden, aged 29, of Doncaster Road, Wakefield, have each been charged with five counts of marketing a knife as suitable for combat, eight counts of publishing material indicating a knife was suitable for combat, and one count of exposing for sale a weapon to which Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 applied.
Lodge has also been charged with possession of an electrical incapacitation device.
Staff member Amy Ponting, aged 40, of Bottle Kiln Rise, Wakefield, has been charged with five counts of marketing a knife as suitable for combat and one count of exposing for sale a weapon to which Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 applied.
They are due to appear at Leeds Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 February 2024.
The shop was made the subject of an immediate closure notice by Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team following the operation in December 2021, which was followed by a fuller closure application by the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, which co-ordinates the work of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police.
The charges come as Safer Leeds continues its campaign of education and awareness around knife crime which is running in the city this month following the arrival of the imposing Knife Angel sculpture.
The 27ft tall figure, created from more than 100,000 seized blades by the British Ironwork Centre, is on show outside the Royal Armouries Museum throughout February to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour and the need for change.
The initiative sees a comprehensive programme of activity, supported by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, to engage and educate young people as part of the city’s continued response to serious youth violence.
The month officially kickstarts Project Shield, which is a longer term co-ordinated response to knife crime, based on a more positive and hopeful conversation with young people, underpinned by a strong partnership approach to identify and protect those most at risk.
This post is based on a press release issued by West Yorkshire Police
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