Knife found in churchyard by litter pickers
- Credit: St Albans Litter Picking Community Volunteers
Police have increased patrols after a 7cm knife was discovered discarded in undergrowth by litter pickers clearing up a St Albans churchyard.
St Albans Litter Picking Community Volunteers were working at St Peter's Church on Sunday afternoon as part of their regular rubbish clearance.
Volunteer Irena Perkins found the knife - which had a 7cm blade, a metal handle and no cover - in a bush in the graveyard at around 4pm.
Group founder Stefania Vinci, who was also on the litter pick, explained: "We were clearing up the rubbish in the grassy area behind the church.
"The sort of things we were picking up were usually cans and bottles. so were horrified to find a used condom, a huge knife and a syringe. We had a nine-year-old helping out and it was very difficult to explain why there were there.
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"I do this because I want make St Albans a nicer place for everyone and wildlife. I lead by example in the hope that others will join me. I was rather surprised - what the hell is a knife doing in here? And also the used condom. Why are people doing this?
"If my family were laid to rest in that graveyard, I would be even more upset by the disrespect shown to them."
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"I am so in love with nature, so imagine if a bird or squirrel got hold of the condom when you see what something as simple as a plastic can holder can do to a bird - strangle them to death."
A St Albans district council spokesperson said: “Our contractor maintains the grounds and reports anything unusual to us such as the discovery of a knife or evidence of rough sleeping.
“Our community protection team has dealt in the past with concerns about rough sleeping, drug use and street drinking in that area, although nothing recently.
“In tackling such issues when they arise, the team works closely with the police, other public agencies and charities.”
As a result of the discovery, police patrols are being increased in the area.
Sergeant Paul Caro, from the St Albans Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Unfortunately, given its secluded nature, the churchyard does sometimes attract anti-social behaviour but I would like to reassure you that we regularly patrol the grounds to ensure the public’s safety.
"We work very closely with the church itself and as a result of this recent incident, you will see even more patrols in the area. I would encourage anyone with information to get in touch by calling the non-emergency number 101. Remember, in an emergency always call 999.”
St Peter's Church said: "We are very grateful to our volunteers who help keep the churchyard clean and tidy so that it can be enjoyed by everyone. We support approaching the police about the knife which was found and understand they are launching a further knife amnesty initiative."