POLICE in Trowbridge have urged the community not to take matters into their own hands after graffiti calling for 19-year-old Hayden Maslen to be freed was daubed on a wall in the town.

Maslen was sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders’ institution on September 21, after the fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Jordan Taylor in the town in March. He was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter but admitted carrying a bladed article.

Tensions over the verdict boiled over last Thursday night when ‘Freee Haydeen’ appeared on a wall in Wiltshire Drive.

Later that night, someone else sprayed ‘So justice can be done’ underneath it.

Detective Inspector Jim Taylor reiterated that the force, which is launching a knife amnesty, was doing everything possible to tackle knife crime.

“Knife crime is an issue which impacts on entire communities and tackling this is a key priority for us. But, we need the public’s help to combat this type of crime – that is the only way we can achieve a long term change,” he said.

“Our Community Policing Teams enable us to work closer than ever with our neighbourhoods to understand what issues matter to them the most and how we can tackle them together.

“Our teams in Trowbridge will continue to build on the tremendous work they have begun in terms of reassuring our communities of our commitment to tackle the crimes that affect them the most.”

He added: “There is never an excuse to unlawfully carry a knife, or an offensive weapon of any kind, in public.

"Anyone caught carrying a knife, regardless of whether they are carrying it in self-defence, is committing an offence and could be arrested and jailed.”

Acting Inspector Gill Hughes said: “Whilst we understand that this is an emotive situation for all of those involved, we must remind the community not to take matters into their own hands.”