CHURCHES have joined the fight against knife crime by installing amnesty bins as an alternative for people who want to hand in weapons but are afraid to go to a police station.

St James Church in Trowbridge has joined Wiltshire and stop people having access to lethal weapons.

The church doors in Trowbridge as well as at St Andrew’s in Melksham have been open from Monday as part of the campaign.

Rev Rob Thomas said: “This is a great opportunity for people to use the church building as a safe space to drop off and hand over their knives.

“It is an alternative to having to go to a police station.

“We are pleased to be able to offer the church for this and have several volunteers who will be available to oversee the operation.

“We hope people will take advantage of these two weeks as this is a big issue as we all know, including in Trowbridge following recent tragic events.”

St James’ Church will continue to take in knives until Saturday, September 28.

The bin can be used from 10am-12 noon every day except Tuesdays and during Sunday services.

The church hopes its central location will make it an easy place for people who want to dispose of knives belonging to someone they know.

Emma Caley-Taylor’s son Jordan Taylor died as a result of multiple stab wounds in an incident in Trowbridge in March 2016. She has since been working with Anti Knife UK.

She told the Wiltshire Times said although she appreciated the church’s initiative, she fears it won’t reduce knife crime.

“I have to be completely honest, and it is lovely that the churches are getting involved, but it is appealing to the wrong people.

“Law abiding citizens are sure to hand their knives into these amnesty bins, but criminals won’t.We need knives to be taken away from the criminals.

“The only way to reduce knife crime is for the government to make it law for high street shops to tag their knives and put them in glass cabinets.

“At Anti Knife UK we see that 70 per cent of knife crimes involve a stolen knife. This would halve knife crime and we need the government to address this.

“Unfortunately I don’t think the amnesty bins will touch the sides.”

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “As we have seen in the news, knife crime wrecks lives - not only the life of the victim but their families and friends.

“Directly and indirectly there are many people whose lives can be destroyed just because of one incident - it’s not just the victim and perpetrator who are affected.

“The success of last year’s amnesty means this is great way to encourage people to do the right thing and hand in any illegal weapons. Even one knife off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.

“The reality is that the police cannot tackle this alone and need to draw upon those same communities to play an equal part; people giving the police intelligence and information to help them build a case against individuals and subsequently tackle the issue.

She added: “Parents and schools can also do their bit by checking what their children are carrying in their bags; it’s a good way to educate youngsters too that being caught with a knife could mean they end up in serious trouble.”