Asda to remove single kitchen knives from sale following a string of fatal stabbings
The supermarket giant Asda has vowed to stop selling single kitchen knives by the end of April.
The company, which has branches across the region, including Sunderland, Hartlepool, Peterlee and Boldon, has taken the decision amid rising fears over their use in fatal stabbings.
The supermarket announced the move today as pressure mounted for action to be taken to reduce knife crime following a string of stabbings on teenagers.
Sunderland's Connor Brown, 18, was stabbed to death in the city centre in the early hours of Sunday, February 24.
He was found behind The Borough pub, off Vine Place, and his death has left the community in shock with his family describing the popular Farringdon lad as "one in a million" and "the most wonderful young man."Across the county a number of young people have lost their lives recently due to stabbings and this weekend Asda senior vice president, Nick Jones, said the move to take single kitchen knives off shelves was its contribution to tackling the crisis.
He said: "Whilst we have already taken steps to restrict the sale of knives to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands, we felt there was more we could be doing to support those looking at how to bring this issue under control.
"We know single knives are the most common knife products to be stolen and that is why we have chosen to remove these items from our stores."
Multipack kitchen knife sets will still be available, but will be security tagged for extra protection.
Poundland, which announced in September it would remove all kitchen knives from sale, "wholeheartedly" welcomed the move.
Its retail director Austin Cooke said: "We know this issue is important to customers and colleagues alike and now urgently ask other retailers to consider where they stand."
Asda's move also came after an undercover investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches showed a 17-year-old girl was allowed to buy knives from Asda and B&M without being challenged over her age.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We welcome this move by Asda to restrict access to knives in their stores.
"It is already illegal to sell knives to under-18s and retailers are playing their part in ensuring they don't fall into the wrong hands."