Police say they have now identified all of the boys who appeared in a photograph taken in Eastbourne with one of them appearing to be carrying a large knife.
The photograph was taken around 5pm on Saturday (March 9) in Roselands Avenue and posted on social media soon after by resident Gemma Fountain who was concerned for people’s safety.
The post was shared more than 1,000 times on Bridgemere and Roselands Goings On Facebook page in a bid to try and identify the group of youngsters.
A row has since broken out over the length of time it took police to collect the knife.
Today (Tuesday), Eastbourne Police said officers are in the process of speaking with all of the group members and their parents to establish the circumstances of how the knife came into their possession.
A spokesperson said, “Thanks to a local resident, the knife was recovered after it was discarded by sticking it into a tree stump and handed to police. It will be submitted for forensic examination, but there is nothing to indicate at this time it has been used for any malicious act.
Youth prevention officers from the local policing team will be working with the boys, their parents and the schools to reinforce the message about the dangers and the criminality of carrying knives.
Inspector Rachel Barrow from Eastbourne police said, “We would like to thank witnesses for their assistance and for drawing the matter to our attention.
“We recognise incidents like this involving knives in our community can be really frightening, particularly when knife crime is in the forefront of many people’s minds.
“I would like to stress on this occasion, no one has been hurt.
“I have spoken to residents to thank them for coming forward. I would also like to thank those parents for recognising the potential seriousness of this case and promptly contacting police. It has really helped to establish the facts quickly and allowed officers time speak with the boys about their involvement.
“During a week when we are working in local schools to raise awareness and increase education about the risks of carrying knives, this is a timely opportunity to help keep our younger generation safe.”
Anyone who sees a knife being carried in the street should dial 999 immediately.