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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 22:04 GMT
Samurai sword dealers facing ban
Imitation samurai swords
Such weapons have been used in a number of attacks
Shops should be banned from selling imitation samurai swords, the government has said.

The Home Office said the weapons had been used in about 80 serious attacks in England and Wales since 2003 and it wants to target their distribution.

People who carry the cheaply priced swords in public can already be charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

Genuine samurai swords used in ceremonial martial arts display or sought by collectors would be exempt.

The plans are detailed in a consultation paper, Banning Offensive Weapons, which forms part of a wider crackdown on knife crime.

Knuckle-dusters and butterfly knives are among the weapons currently prohibited, with dealers facing penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of 5,000.

Sword killings

"Banning the sale, import and hire will take more dangerous weapons out of circulation, making our streets safer," Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said.

"We recognise it is the cheap, easily available samurai swords which are being used in crime and not the genuine, more expensive samurai swords which are of interest to collectors and martial art enthusiasts."

Hugh Penrose was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court last month for murder after striking a 21-year-old woman with one of the samurai swords before running her over.

And in October, Bradley Moran was jailed for 17 years for killing a man in Devon following an argument.

One MP recently warned the swords were the preferred weapon of choice for gangs after guns.


SEE ALSO
Life for samurai sword murderer
21 Feb 07 |  England

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