Cumbria

Cumbrian craft tools fall foul of new knife law

Garry Stevenson
Image caption Most of Garry Stevenson's customers live too far away to visit his shop

A businessman selling wood-carving tools fears new laws designed to cut knife crime could destroy a large part of his trade.

Garry Stevenson, from Cumbria, sells tools online and says the new Offensive Weapons Bill makes this impossible.

He posts about 1,000 tools a month to hobbyists across the UK but the proposed law would make it illegal to send them to a residential address.

The Home Office said the new rules were designed to "keep people safe".

"We have tried to get the balance right between protecting the public from violent crime and ensuring legitimate trade can continue," a spokesperson said.

Deliveries to businesses would still be allowed, even if run from a home.

The definition of "bladed articles" would exclude table knives, custom-made knives and those used for sport or re-enactment.

Image caption Buyers of "bladed articles" would have to prove in person they were over 18

The Home Office said the law was intended to stop knives being sold to those underage.

But Mr Stevenson said: "I just can't imagine a young person thinking, 'I want to carry a knife so I'll go online and I'll buy a carving tool'."

The new law would require prospective buyers to come to a shop in person and prove they are over 18.

However, Mr Stevenson believes his specialist business in Stainton "couldn't carry on" as many of his customers are hundreds of miles away.

"On a local basis we wouldn't sell enough of these tools," he said.

"Nor would any other shop, wherever they are in the country."

The Bill will be debated in Parliament next month.

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