Criminals are hiding deadly blades in and around public places including play parks, a police force is warning.
The worrying tactic used by thugs has been exposed in a series of images by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as they urge the public to ‘open your eyes to knives’.
The weapons are concealed by perpetrators in open spaces so they can quickly arm themselves.
One photo appears to be of a seemingly normal brick wall. But upon closer inspection between the bricks hides a knife.
Those with eagle-eyes will also be able to spot the handle of a blade sticking out of green shrubbery in another image.
The police force is challenging members of the public to try and find them as part of a new campaign in the wake of a spate of fatal stabbings around the country.
GMP is seeing a large number of knives being hidden in public places and used for crime purposes rather than being carried by the offender.
Visitors to GMP’s Social media platforms will be asked to spot the knife hidden in a number of images released during the week across Facebook , Twitter and Instagram , encouraging conversation around what is often a difficult subject to address.
Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “It’s a sad fact that people are not only carrying knives, but are now also hiding weapons in and around public places and that can be very worrying for members of the public.
“The more knives that are on the streets only leads to one outcome – more people getting hurt – and we are determined to act to stop these implements getting into the wrong hands.
“To ensure police and partner resources are targeted in the communities where they are needed most, we are asking the public to be aware and report any knife sightings to us reduce the circulation of weapons in our communities.”
Last week, Idris Elba made an impassioned plea to those who carry knives to stop making themselves “look stupid” – and said perpetrators should “stab themselves”.
The actor warned that those tempted to stab another person should instead turn the blade on themselves “because you’re stabbing your future”.
He also urged other stars to demand an end to fatal stabbings.
In a video posted on Instagram , the Luther star called for young men to think of their future.
He said: “Knife crime is not new. I grew up in the Eighties and there was knife crime back then, between blacks and whites.
“And now it’s definitely between young black men in small, tiny communities. And it’s affecting everyone, we all look stupid.
“You look even more stupid, if you’ve got a knife, or you know someone that’s got a knife, tell them to stab themselves right now, trust me. Because you’re just going to stab your future if you go and stab someone else.
“You become a murderer, you go to prison, you ain’t got sh*t. For what? For some beef that lives within your community. You need to see past that.”
Police chiefs met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Wednesday and warned that the scale of knife crime has become a national emergency.
Prime Minister Theresa May has faced a mounting backlash for denying a link between officer numbers and bloodshed on Britain’s streets as the death toll increased this week.
Last October, new figures from the Office for National Statistics found that knife crime had hit a new record in England and Wales, with 39,332 offences, an annual increase of 12 per cent in the year to June 2018.