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Knife crime: Asda to remove single kitchen knives from sale

An Asda supermarket in south London Image copyright Getty Images

Supermarket chain Asda has pledged to remove all single kitchen knives from sale amid concerns about their use in violent crime.

It comes as 41 people have been killed in stabbings in the UK this year.

Single kitchen knives are the most frequently stolen knives, Asda said, prompting the decision to stop their sale by the end of April.

Nick Jones, Asda senior vice-president, said the company had "a responsibility to support the communities we serve".

"Whilst we have already taken steps to restrict the sale of knives to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands, we felt there was more we could be doing to support those looking at how to bring this issue under control", he said.

The store said it would continue to sell multipacks of knives.

It is illegal to sell knives to under 18s, unless they have a folding blade less than 3in (7.6cm) long. In Scotland, 16 to 18-year-olds may buy cutlery and kitchen knives, however.

Asda was one of several companies to sign a voluntary agreement in 2016 to display and package knives securely after a man was stabbed with a knife from a Poundland shop.

Last year Poundland announced it would stop selling kitchen knives altogether.

Following Asda's decision, Austin Cooke, retail director of Poundland, said: "We know this issue is important to customers and colleagues alike and now urgently ask other retailers to consider where they stand."

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Responding to the announcement by Asda, the Home Office said: "We welcome retailers playing their part in preventing young people accessing knives."

Concerns over knife crime rose last week after seven people were killed in London and two elsewhere in England.

A relative of Jodie Chesney, a 17-year-old girl stabbed to death in east London, called for tougher penalties for carrying and using knives.

And Prime Minister Theresa May faced criticism after saying there was no direct link between cuts to policing and rising violence.

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