A grieving mother whose son was stabbed to death helped police launch a knife amnesty yesterday.
Suzanne Hilton, whose son Glen Corner was murdered on his 16th birthday last summer, joined detectives and council chiefs to urge anyone with knives to hand in their weapons.
The two-week amnesty for South Tyneside started yesterday and will see bins at the entrances to police stations at Millbank in South Shields, in Harton and in Hebburn - in the face of a 9% rise in knife crime in Northumbria last year. There were 1,950 knife crimes in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear last year - roughly 40 a week.
Ms Hilton said she was determined to try to take something positive from what she and her family have suffered since Glen was stabbed in the Harton area of South Shields on August 25.
The schoolboy, who had already overcome cancer, had been out for a night of celebration both for his birthday and because he had just received his GCSE results.
And one month after watching Lee Firman, 19, of Thorneholme Avenue, South Shields, jailed for a minimum of 16 years for her son's murder, Ms Hilton revealed that a Glen Corner Trust was being created to provide advice and support to victims.
She said: "I was so proud of Glen and everything he had achieved, he had such great hopes for the future. It is still impossible to understand that he will never achieve these.
"The past months have been horrible, the whole family has changed as we have tried to come to terms with the devastating news. Life will never be the same without Glen."
Chief Superintendent Kevin Lambert, South Tyneside's area commander, said: "Young people who carry a blade are literally living on a knife-edge. Even if they don't intend to use the knife, they are putting themselves in a position where they could kill someone.
"People armed with knives can all too easily allow an argument to escalate into murder. The aim of this amnesty is to raise awareness about the dangers of these weapons and ask the community to get rid of them by putting them in the bins the police are providing."
There were 194 crimes involving knives between April 2006 and February 2007 in South Tyneside, nine fewer than the same period last year and a 5% decrease.
Across the Northumbria force from April 2006 to February 2007 there were 1,950 knife crimes, an increase of 168 crimes or 9%.
Ms Hilton added: "No-one should have to go through losing a loved one in such a horrible way. If my experience can help anyone else come to terms with such devastating events then that is my motivation.
"At the moment we are trying to raise as much money as possible so that the project can get up and running. Through Victim Support, the Glen Corner Trust will provide advice and support to anyone else who is a victim of crime."
South Tyneside Council leader Paul Waggott said: "This amnesty is about creating safer streets in South Tyneside. By taking these deadly weapons off our streets we can save lives and cut crime. Carrying knives on the streets simply cannot and will not be tolerated - there really is no excuse."