IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

1,000 knives are found in one Islington bin in six months

Mother of stabbing victim ‘shocked’ by number of blades deposited

19 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Knives and batons left in the bin

MORE than 1,000 knives, including samurai swords and deadly hunting knives with serrated edges, were deposited in one knife bin over just six months.

The knives dumped in the specialist bin outside St Mellitus Roman Catholic Church in Finsbury Park are not traced back to their owners.

Jessica Plummer, who has attended the church for 30 years and lives a stone’s throw away, launched the bin back in November alongside Tottenham MP David Lammy.

Ms Plummer lost her son Shaquan to a stabbing in 2015 and hundreds crammed into the church in Tollington Park to pay tribute to the 17-year-old during his memorial service.

“I was so shocked to hear how many knives were found in the bin,” she said.

“I’m thinking that a thousand children are being saved because of this. I am so, so, so proud of the work my church is doing.”

She said the popularity of the bin was down to its location “with no cameras” and “children can just come and drop the knife and go about their businesses with no one seeing them”.

Ms Plummer now works with Islington Police officers to go into schools to deter pupils from carrying knives.

“I talk to them about Shaquan, my other children and how our lives have changed. Now I get bags of medication from the doctors but before Shaquan died I was not on any medication,” she said.

Jessica Plummer

“I stress to them how education can change your life. Shaquan was so competitive with his sister – he had five offers for university places. He was killed on Friday and on the Monday I had a university calling me about his place and I had to tell them my son has died.

“I was talking to my neighbours about him today, they said he maybe would have had a family with two kids by now. I don’t think so. He loved going out and he would have been going to work in a shirt and tie every day. He was always telling me he would make me rich one day. He would have been proud of me and what I’m doing to stop young people dying.”

Percy Aggett, a member of the church who helped secure nearly £10,000 for the bin installed by charity Word 4 Weapons, said he was “bowled over” to hear that more than 1,000 knives had been binned.

He said: “There’s currently a perfect storm with cuts to policing and very well-organised grooming gangs that is leading to a rise in knife crime. The fact that the bin is so well used means there is a demand for the safe disposal of knives all over Islington – whether that’s a knife from someone’s kitchen or a deadly knife with serrated edges.”

As reported in the Tribune last week, Finsbury Park saw a night of violence earlier this month where one man was stabbed and another shot.

Camara Fearon, executive coordinator at Word 4 Weapons, said they had been asked by the Town Hall to install five more bins throughout the borough.

The Tribune understands there is currently only one other knife bin which sits in Islington police station in Angel.

She said: “We have a collection next week from St Mellitus but the last collection included small knives, batons, kitchen knives, hunting knives, samurai swords and cutlery.”

The weapons the charity collects are melted down and coated with 24-carat gold and given to schoolchildren who are doing “positive things”.

The charity wants to recognise the young people doing “great things” in their community, said Ms Fearon.

Ms Fearon said she went into anti-knife crime activism after her friend was stabbed in Walthamstow.

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