Leicester

Leicestershire boy, 8, 'hid knives to protect himself'

Knives Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The eight-year-old boy had taken the knives from his home and hidden them outside

An eight-year-old child was caught hiding knives from home to protect himself while playing outside, it has been revealed.

The boy, from Leicestershire, who has not been named, took a family support worker to six locations near his home where the weapons were concealed.

He said he hid the kitchen knives "under bushes and bricks" in case he got "bullied" when he was out playing.

His mother called the police after realising what he was doing.

The 37-year-old woman told the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service: "I had no idea he was taking them out until I saw him in the drawer one day before he was going out.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy was allocated a mentor at the E2Training Centre in Beaumont Leys who has helped him

"I asked him what the hell he was doing and he said it was in case anyone started on him.

"He'd been bullied before and said he took it to protect himself.

"He said he wasn't going to stab anyone, he'd just show it to them and then they'd leave him alone."

The boy stopped carrying and storing knives following help from a youth worker at the E2Training Centre in Beaumont Leys, Leicester.

His mother said youth worker and mentor Beth Wallace had saved her son's life.

"Without Beth he would end up dead one day or in prison," she said.

"You see things go on, you see the news and the kids being killed and it scares me," the mother added.

"He's eight, he had no idea what he was doing. The way things are at the moment, he could have ended up dead."

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Beth Wallace said she has worked with children as young as seven

The 37-year-old said she was determined her son continued attending anti-knife sessions at the centre.

Ms Wallace, who works with children aged between seven and 16, told BBC Radio Leicester that children carrying knives was a "massive problem" and is largely done for self-defence.

"From seven they're starting to have the opinions of carrying a knife, looking at peers and media around them," she said.

"It's definitely getting younger... it's down to peer pressure a lot now, seeing it as a fashion to carry a knife.

"Young people are scared to report [knife crime] and scared of the consequences of reporting it."

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