Great Britain

Shocking figures reveal how Britain’s knife crisis has swept from cities as gangs ‘commute’ armed teens to leafy suburbs

BRITAIN'S knife epidemic has moved from inner cities into leafy suburbs as gangs send armed teens to take over new drugs markets.

Shocking figures analysed by The Sun Online show a knife is used in a crime 125 times every day across England and Wales.

And the grim tally is rising fastest in wealthy areas such as Surrey, Sussex, Hertfordshire and Norfolk, which have seen an explosion in knife offences.

In Surrey, knife crime has jumped the highest in the country, with a staggering 618 per cent increase in knife crime over the last decade.

Offences more than tripled in Sussex in the same time period, climbing from 346 in 2010 to 1,195 in 2019.

Meanwhile in Hertfordshire, cases rose 166 per cent between 2010 and 2019, increasing from 272 to 723.

Meanwhile, urban areas such as London and the West Midlands saw the lowest rises.

In England and Wales, knife crime nationally has risen 49 per cent in just 10 years.


Counties previously seen as safe spots have seen a series of horrific knife attacks in recent months.

Darren Pencille, 36, was jailed for 28 years on Sunday for the stabbing murder of Lee Pomeroy, 51, in a "savage and unrelenting" attack during a row from Guildford to London Waterloo last January.

On Christmas Eve, a smirking teen boasted on Snapchat about randomly stabbing a woman in the back on a night out in Crawley, West Sussex, while a man armed with a knife was arrested on the Bognor Regis seafront after an eight-hour standoff with cops in April.

Patrick Green, of the Ben Kinsella Trust, which campaigns to reduce knife crime through education, said: “These figures underline the work we still need to do to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying a knife.

"The key is early intervention in schools and colleges to teach young people that arming themselves in this way is not a solution to their problems.” 


Children as young as 10 are known to be operating in London-based county lines gangs and the average age for new recruits is just 15.

London commuter stations are used to ferry teenagers with backpacks crammed full of drugs and cash out into the suburbs.

Rail connections from stations such as London Bridge and Stratford to lucrative drug markets in Kent, Essex, Sussex and Norfolk are seeing gangs thrive and young people increasingly drawn into violence.

Our probe can also reveal how Britain’s knife epidemic is quickly spreading to rural towns and villages. 

Dyfed-Powys in Wales had a 107 per cent rise with offences up from 98 in 2010 to 203 last year compared to 10 years ago, while Kent saw a 129 per cent surge up 447 to 793 per year.

Merseyside leapt up 153 per cent to 1,504 and Leicester grew 101 per cent  - up from 432 to 869.

While murders, admissions and overall knife crime rises, stop and search is down and falling.

Government figures show how, a decade ago, police stopped 25 in every 1,000 people. Now it’s five in 1,000.

The key is early intervention in schools and colleges

Patrick Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust

Since the start of this year cops have put scanners, which can detect those carrying blades, at spots all over the country.

This month alone they’ve already been deployed in train stations, bus terminals and at schools in Birmingham, Bromley,  Leeds, London, Maidstone, Manchester, Nottingham, Preston, Reading, Sidcup and Walsall.

A leading charity told The Sun Online that rising numbers of kids are going missing from their homes during lockdown and ending up in county lines gangs.

And those who refuse to follow orders are told their families will be harmed unless they sign-up to the gangs. 

Yesterday Becky Fedia from the Children’s Society warned: “Despite the lockdown, young people we support are continuing to go missing from home and care.

“Sadly, this is often because criminals are cynically exploiting and using them for county lines drug dealing, and if that is not already happening, going missing may put them at increased risk of being groomed.

“Children faced with threats of violence towards them and their families by these people may be more afraid of what will happen if they don't do what they're told than they are of Covid-19.”

In the past five years, hospitals dealt with 22,390 cases caused by knives and other “sharp objects”.  This works out at as 12 admissions across the UK every day. 

New data also shows the areas seeing the most people arriving at A&E with knife-related injuries. London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool accounted for the highest number of cases.

Moment killer Darren Pencille screams at dad Lee Pomeroy before stabbing him 18 times in front of his son on train

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