TUCKED into the trousers of a woman arrested near a burgled home this terrifying weapon is just one of the many blades being carried on the streets.
Taped together to make a fearsome modified weapon, the knuckleduster and knife could easily have inflicted a deadly blow – becoming the latest in a long line of crimes carried out at the point of a knife.
As Chelsea Hales was sentenced for carrying the weapon the court ordered that it must be destroyed
Today The News is backing a nationwide campaign against knife crime, warning of deadly consequences and shattered lives left behind
Such crimes have more than doubled in just six years, with 828 knife-related incidents in Hampshire in the year to March.
This is up from just 408 in 2011-12. Last year Hampshire police involved in Operation Sceptre – the anti-knife campaign – saw 21 blades handed into an amnesty bin at Portsmouth Central station.
The modified weapon was found on Chelsea Hales, 20, who had been stopped by police after a burglary.
Prosecutor Andrew Newman told how Hales was searched after police stopped a car with two men and a woman in shortly after the raid.
They were stopped in Mill Lane, Titchfield, on July 19 at 11.20pm.
Officers searching Hales found a ‘hard object in her trousers which was cannabis in a small glass jar in the groin area’.
Hales – who it was said in court has the cognitive ability of a six-year-old – was arrested for having cannabis and said: ‘I’ll come clean, I have a knuckleduster in my trousers.’
Showing magistrates a photo of the weapon, Mr Newman said: 'I've never seen anything like this before.'
Admitting having cannabis, a class B drug, an offensive weapon, Hales insisted a man in the car had given the modified knuckleduster to her to ‘look after’.
Portsmouth magistrate Peter Lay imposed a community order with 20 days of thinking skills and 25 days of rehabilitation.
She must pay an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
POLICE UNVEIL A WEEK OF ACTION TO TARGET BLADES
OFFICERS say they are determined to make the streets of Portsmouth and Hampshire safer with a concerted campaign against knifes.
Today marks the first day of Operation Sceptre, an annual push that aims to see knives removed from our streets.
In previous years amnesty bins have been placed in police stations – with 21 knives being handed into Portsmouth last year.
But this year officers are taking a slightly different tack and are targeting criminals who use knives.
A spokeswoman said that in Portsmouth there would be high-visibility patrols in what are seen as the most ‘at-risk’ areas, and that the drug-related harm team would be looking at high-risk offenders.
This comes after a series of street stabbings in Southsea in the last couple of years, of which many have been attributed to drug dealers coming into the city.
There are also plans to work with licensed premises, bringing in searches and using wands and knife arches to detect weapons.
And as part of an education programme, there will be presentations to schools, and the police cadets will be in Guildhall Square on Friday to raise awareness and give out information about knife crime.