Knives, guns and alcohol among more than 3,000 items confiscated at Grimsby's courts
MORE than 3,000 items – including knives, guns, alcohol, tools and cameras – have been confiscated at Grimsby's courts, new figures have revealed.
Security officers at the magistrates' court, in Victoria Street, and at Grimsby Crown Court, in Town Hall Square, have seized 274 cameras, 500 tools and 1,097 alcoholic drinks, as well as weapons including:
Five replica firearms.
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And some of those responsible for bringing the items to the building could now be facing charges as a result.
The statistics, dating from February and September 2008, the whole of 2009 and 2010 and from January to October 2011 are the latest dates available.
They were released by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service following a Freedom of Information request made by the Grimsby Telegraph.
The items were confiscated because they were deemed to be illegal, dangerous or inappropriate for court and, on some occasions, the police were called to deal with the situation.
It is illegal, for example, to record court proceedings and to take photographs within the court precincts.
A court service spokesman said: "The Courts and Tribunals Service takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and has a rigorous system in place, including mandatory bag searches, bag scanners, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, to ensure the safety of all court users.
"It is an offence to be in possession of a knife with a blade of more than three inches.
"If an individual is caught trying to enter any court building with such a knife, the police will be called and appropriate action will be taken."
A Humberside Police spokesman added: "The force works closely with the security staff at the courts in North East Lincolnshire to help ensure the safety of the public is not compromised.
"The law is clear in relation to possessing and carrying an illegal weapon.
"All those people who enter the court buildings with an illegal weapon will be dealt with in accordance with the law."
Grimsby defence solicitor Sarah Middleton, of Michael Culshaw & Co, said: "I come to the magistrates' court every day and the security officers still search my bag and, if it beeps when I go through, they still use the 'wand' to check that I am not carrying anything illegal.
"The security officers do a very thorough job. It's even more rigorous at Grimsby Crown Court because I take a suitcase through the security system."
Nigel Sloane, of Grimsby firm Roy Foreman & Co, said: "Security is tight and there are no security problems whatsoever at either the magistrates' court or the Crown court.
"The security officers do a very good job and all court users feel safe in their working environment."
The magistrates' court security officers team of Barrie Vincent, Darren Delaney and Dean McNaughton are known for their vigilance in spotting illegal items and confiscating them.
A large collection of confiscated items has built up at the court, including knives, needles, cutlery knives and two replica guns used as lighters.
Any machetes, knives with a blade of more than three inches, firearms and stun guns that are found are handed over to the police for prosecution to be considered.
A similar large number of items has been collected at Grimsby Crown Court, where the security officers, Les Bendle, Ian Binns, Shaun Debell and Merrick Cane are equally vigilant in trying to make sure nothing dangerous or illegal is brought through.
Between February 2008 and October 2011 the following items have been confiscated.
Lock Knives – eight
Knives with a blade smaller than three inches – 257
Knives with a blade greater than three inches – 109
Genuine firearms – two
Replica firearms – five
Tools – 500
Cameras – 274
Recorders – 68
Alcohol – 1,097
Others – 840