From Thursday, those convicted of making, lending or selling the items can face up to four years in prison
Anyone who manufactures, sells, hires, imports or lends a ‘zombie knife’ is committing a crime as of Thursday. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA
Sellers of “zombie knives” could face a prison sentence from this week as a ban on the “horrific” weapons comes into effect.
Ministers launched a crackdown on the blades, which can be up to 60cm long with a serrated edge and carry images or words that glamorise violence.
Inspired by horror films and often advertised as collectors’ items, they are available on the internet for as little as £10.
An amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 prohibiting the sale, manufacture, rental or importation of zombie knives will take effect on Thursday.
Those caught making or selling the items will face up to four years in prison.
Home Office minister Sarah Newton said: “This government will act wherever necessary to cut crime and keep our communities safe.
“Zombie killer knives glamorise violence and cause devastating damage – they have no place whatsoever in our society.”
Alf Hitchcock, an expert on knife crime at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Zombie knives are absolutely horrific weapons.
“Forces are determined to reduce the harm caused by these and all other dangerous weapons. There is no place for knife crime within society and this ban is further commitment to keeping communities safe.”
Morris Bright, of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Zombie knives have only one purpose – to threaten, injure or kill someone – and this ban, which the LGA has called for, will help reduce the number of lethal blades in society and stop online retailers unwittingly fuelling criminal activity which can lead to tragedy.
“An industry-backed code of practice on the naming, promotion and packaging of all knives also needs to be created – similar to that of the alcoholic drinks industry – which would promote their responsible sale.”
Earlier this year a 17-year-old was convicted of manslaughter and jailed after teenage student Stefan Appleton was stabbed to death with a “zombie killer” knife in north London in June 2015.
Figures show police are recording rising numbers of knife-related crimes. In the year ending in March, police logged 28,664 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, a 10% jump compared with the previous 12 months.
Statisticians said the available evidence suggested a “complex picture” in which the latest increase could reflect a mix of both improvements in recording processes and a genuine rise in knife crime.
The ban applies to England and Wales, while legislation is also expected to be introduced in Northern Ireland.