How zombie knives and machetes are shredded once taken off West Midland streets

"If we can save one life doing what we're doing, then I think that we've succeeded"

As part of the process, the knives are first cut up into pieces
As part of the process, the knives are first cut up into pieces

Work to remove and recycle dangerous weapons from the region's streets has been taken on by a Willenhall engineering firm.

AlphaDrive Engineering Services Limited were awarded a three-year contract at the end of last year by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to create new knife bins and destroy any weapons put into the bins.

Commercial director Stuart Hill said he had contacted West Midlands Police about an idea he had for collecting weapons and collating the data about each weapon.

He said: "I contacted the force regarding a concept that I had in my head about being able to provide the police with surrender bins.

"I also told them the idea I had for collecting the weapons, collating the information together with a piece of software we have and then shredding them and recycling the contents.

Zombie knives, machetes and flick knives are just some of the weapons being collected and destroyed

"We design and build our own shredders and we come across one which can specifically smash knives, so we invested in a hammer mill and that stands in the corner so we can do all this work in-house."

Mr Hill said previous knife surrender bins had suffered from bins being broken into or keys being lost to bins, so AlphaDrive had designed a special bin with no keys or doors and which had tamper-proof fixings.

He also said the firm was managing each stage of the process, including the location for each bin, the emptying of the bins and the collation of the information of the contents of each bin.

He said: "I've got quite a good document that is growing every time we empty a bin of what contents are in that bin and the location they came from, and that is only going to get bigger and bigger.

"I don't know if anyone else in the country has anything like this and the police have said that they haven't had the resources or capabilities to log that sort of data.

"I lay out all the contents and photograph them, then upload them to our app, which means that people can see what we're doing and all the information about where and what there is in a pictoral form."

Fabrications manager Mick Ufton welds one of the bins, with 19 currently out in the community

Mr Hill said the vision of the firm was to provide a standardised weapons surrender method which could be rolled out to every police force across the country.

He also detailed what the firm had collected so far, with more than 1,000 weapons also collected from the 19 bins currently out around the region.

He said: "We've got everything from zombie knives to machetes, to hunting knives, daggers and flick knives, as well as some really ugly looking kitchen knives.

"It's really shocking to see these weapons being handed in and every one causes a bit of surprise, as well as worry on a lot of levels.

Managing director Anthony Chisolm and commercial director Stuart Hill are pictured with one of the bins

"However, we are doing some good by getting them off the street and while we know that some criminals won't give away their weapons, we're still collecting a lot of them."

In terms of what they were doing with the shredded knives, Mr Hall said one idea was to make some of them into key-rings.

He said: "What we want to do is photograph the knife itself, then cut them into sections and send them to the crime commissioner and key influential people in the Home Office.

"It will help to demonstrate that they're holding part of a knife that's been taken off the streets and that we can take something bad and turn it into something good.

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