Attacks with machetes soar sixfold in just seven years


Attacks with machetes soar sixfold in just seven years as critics say they should be on list of banned blades

  • The blades are now being used to perpetrate an average of 22 crimes a day
  • Figures show machete-related offences have doubled in two years alone 
  • True figure is likely to be even higher as Scotland Yard did not provide statistics 

Police have seen an explosion in the use of machetes by gangs – with offences rising almost sixfold in seven years, figures show.

The hunting blades are now being used to perpetrate an average of 22 crimes a day including robberies, rapes and murder.

Figures released under Freedom of Information laws from forces in England and Wales show machete-related offences have doubled in two years alone.

The blades were used in 1,364 crimes in November and December last year, more than double the 664 in the same period in 2019, and an almost six-fold increase on the 229 in those two months in 2014.

The true figure is likely to be even higher as the nation’s largest force Scotland Yard did not provide statistics.

Critics say machetes have little legitimate use in the UK, but they are not on a list of banned blades such as butterfly knives.

It comes after Britain’s police lead on knife crime, the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, warned last week of a perception among gangs that ‘bigger is better’.

Last month a man was convicted of attempted murder after causing panic on the London Underground as he hacked at a stranger with a machete 'like the Terminator'

Last month a man was convicted of attempted murder after causing panic on the London Underground as he hacked at a stranger with a machete ‘like the Terminator’

The Home Office said it is ‘determined to tackle the underlying causes of serious violence’.

West Midlands Police recorded the most incidents involving the weapon with 273 in November and December last year, followed by Greater Manchester Police with 189 crimes and West Yorkshire, which had 116 related offences.

A snapshot of the crimewave provided by 41 out of 44 police forces in England and Wales show that the fearsome weapons are regularly being used in bloodshed.

West Yorkshire Police revealed machetes had been used in attempted murders, kidnap and death threats.

In Bedfordshire, the weapons were used in an attempted killing, rape and a case of stalking.

Often the blades were produced in violent muggings.

In Suffolk, a woman had a machete held to her throat by a robber demanding cash.

Earlier this year a machete-wielding gang were jailed for stabbing a young father to death to steal his Gucci bag in Newport, south Wales.

Police also recorded offences where the knife was used in road rage and other minor disputes.

In Humberside, a driver leapt out of his vehicle and threatened football fans with a machete after claiming they had bumped his car as they were making their way to the ground.

Earlier this year a machete-wielding gang were jailed for stabbing a young father to death to steal his Gucci bag in Newport, south Wales (gang member Ethan Strickland pictured)

Earlier this year a machete-wielding gang were jailed for stabbing a young father to death to steal his Gucci bag in Newport, south Wales (gang member Ethan Strickland pictured)

In other instances, the weapon has been used to issue death threats on social media such as Snapchat.

Last month a man was convicted of attempted murder after causing panic on the London Underground as he hacked at a stranger with a machete ‘like the Terminator’.

Passengers toppled over each other as they fled through carriages after Ricky Morgan launched an unprovoked attack on a passenger shouting: ‘I kill him. This is not a terror attack, I only want him.’ 

Victim James Porritt, who suffered a severe injury to his hand likened it to a scene from the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film, Terminator.

Other machete-related crimes cited by forces included blackmail, harassment, criminal damage and drug disputes.

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