Police patrolling a Sunderland shopping centre at Christmas seized a 12 inch machete after a employee raised the alarm.
A employees member at a clothes retailer in The Bridges noticed a male enter the shop on the afternoon of December 15, and as he bent down to choose up a service bag, she observed the massive knife tucked inside his waistband.
On-patrol Community Support Officers (CSOs) in Market Square referred to as for back-up and continued to watch the person’s actions from a distance.
Within minutes, officers arrived at the scene and a 28-year-old man was positioned beneath arrest, and the machete subsequently seized.
He has since been charged and can seem in court docket in the approaching weeks.
Sergeant Maria Ord, of Northumbria Police, mentioned: “There is completely no excuse for anybody carrying a weapon and this was a case of incredible teamwork between companies and employees to make sure no one got here to hurt and the machete safely seized.
“A person has since been charged in reference to the seizure and is because of seem earlier than the courts.
“As anticipated, we noticed a gradual enhance in footfall throughout town centre all through December – and that is why we ran Operation Elf to deal immediately with any crime spikes or incidents that arose through the Christmas countdown.”
During the operation, police noticed a 37 per cent discount in anti-social behaviour studies in comparison with December 2019 and a 31 per cent discount for all incidents throughout the identical interval.
More than 80 individuals have been proactively stopped or searched by officers in town centre, and 9 arrests made for a spread of offences together with possessing an offensive weapon, theft, and failing to look in court docket.
Five others have been served with summons to attend court docket, while police made 9 dispersals and issued 11 Community Protection Notices.
Sgt Ord added: “These outcomes are testomony not solely to the exhausting work of our officers, employees but additionally the continuing help of the general public, the native authority, Sunderland BID and the Bridges.
“I’d wish to thank everybody for supporting Operation Elf and serving to to make it such an enormous success.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, added: “We should get blades off the streets. In the improper palms they’re lethal and as proven right here, any report like that is taken very critically by Northumbria Police.
“We will not stand nonetheless on this – our officers are decided to maintain buyers and native residents protected and Operation Elf is only one instance of ongoing work to struggle and forestall crime in the world.
“Supporting this work, my Violence Reduction Unit will proceed working with younger individuals to deal with points and look at the causes of crime – no one ought to ever really feel they’re in a place the place they should carry a knife. We must do the whole lot we are able to to cease this occurring.”
The 28-year-old man who was arrested has since been charged with possessing an offensive weapon. He is because of seem earlier than magistrates in South Tyneside in March.