Offensive weapons on the rise in Mid-Ulster

Offensive weapons
Offensive weapons

The number of offensive weapons seized on the streets of Mid Ulster has risen by over 60% in the last two years.

Magherafelt produced the most startling figures for the area as the number of offensive weapons seized has more than doubled in the last year.

According to figures released to the MAIL through a Freedom of Information request from the PSNI, the number of weapons seized in Magherafelt has risen from 14 in 2012-13 to 31 in 2013-14.

The number of weapons seized by officers, just 10 miles down the road in Cookstown wasn’t quite as high but still on the increase, up 6% on the previous year from 15 weapons seized in 2012-13 to 16 in 2013-14.

The most popular type of offensive weapon seized in both Cookstown and Magherafelt was ammunition, accounting for over half of the offensive weapons seized in Magherafelt and almost 40% of those seized in Cookstown in 2013/14.

In the same year, police seized two guns. three rifles and three knives in Magherafelt, while in Cookstown they seized two rifles, a hammer, a hatchet and a sword.

These figures come on the back of a number of recent court cases in which one defendant was alleged to have brandished a kitchen knife during an incident in Magherafelt.

In another separate case in Magherafelt, a court was told how another defendant was found by police with a nine inch knife on his person.

According to the figures released by the PSNI, the number of people convicted for possessing an offensive weapon in G district which includes Magherafelt has risen, with 55 people convicted in 2012 and 63 convicted in 2013.

So far this year, up to end of September there have been 30 convictions in G district for possessing an offensive weapon.

In F district, which incorporates the Cookstown area, the number of people convicted for this type of offence has dropped. In 2012, 60 people were convicted , but in 2013 there was 30 people convicted, a 50% drop.