Up to 60 knives a month are confiscated by security staff at Bradford courts, it has been revealed.

Last month officers at Bradford Crown Court seized 26 knives, including one weapon with an illegal blade of more than three inches.

Security staff at the city's magistrates' courts confiscated penknives and scissors. All the knives had blades under three inches and were handed back before the owner left the building.

On average between one and two temporary confiscations are made at the city magistrates court every day.

October also saw 12 cameras temporarily confiscated at the crown court and 18 "other" items that might include alcohol and needles.

At Leeds Crown Court, where many Bradford area defendants are sent, 33 small knives were confiscated in a month.

Security staff also impounded 17 cameras, 16 recorders and 25 "other" items.

A spokesman for Her Majesty's Courts Service said that blades under three inches, which are not illegal, are handed back when the owner leaves court, along with cameras and recorders. Longer-bladed weapons are handed to the police so that further investigations can be made.

Bradford magistrate Salima Hafejee said she applauded the court security staff for their thorough vetting procedure.

She felt that many people passing through the system did not realise how the law stood on carrying longer bladed weapons. "Many people may carry instruments, such as manicure sets, which are for routine purposes but there may be individuals who carry weapons for protection. They need to be very clear about what constitutes an offence," she said.

Mrs Hafejee thought the number of bladed weapons confiscated reflected the number of people going to the court buildings every day.

"It's probably on a par with the high number of people passing through the system. Defendants very often bring family and friends with them," she said.

Mrs Hafejee said the security process could be a valuable aid in educating the public about the potential pitfalls of carrying any bladed weapon.

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