Former gang member demands tough action

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A REFORMED gangster who has been shot at and stabbed has said tough new jail sentences must be brought in to stop the youth ‘knife crime epidemic’.

Darryl Laycock has served 12 years in 19 different prison for his actions in gang wars in Manchester and lost 30 friends to ruthless violence.

But after coming out of prison in 2011 he has turned his own life around and now warns children not to get involved in violent crime.

Darryl, 44, of Moss Side, has worked with hundreds of children and spoken to 3,000 professionals but believes a tougher minimum mandatory sentence is the antidote to youth knife crime.

Currently, children caught possessing a knife for a second time face a minimum of four months’ detention – compared to a three-year term for possession of a prohibited firearm.

Darryl, who when released on licence was under the highest level of supervision possible, told The News: ‘Knife crime is an epidemic.

‘I’ve been a gunman. Since that mandatory five-year came in for possession of a firearm, people have switched to knives because there’s no (similar) mandatory sentence.

‘A mandatory sentence should be brought in, I believe more should be done because people are getting killed every single day up and down the country. Everybody wants to be a gangster nowadays.’

He added: ‘What worries me is kids aren’t using their potential. They’re losing it by getting into trouble.’