Firearms, drugs and knives: The items seized from courts in Northamptonshire this year

Northampton Crown Court heard how Boswell aimlessly threw the knife in the air over and over again.
Northampton Crown Court heard how Boswell aimlessly threw the knife in the air over and over again.

More than 13,000 items have been confiscated from Northamptonshire courts this year - including a genuine firearm.

The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper, show 13,500 prohibited items were confiscated in the year up to October 31.

They include a genuine firearm and one instance where someone, incredibly, tried to take drugs into Northampton Combined Court (Crown Court and County Court).

A total of 157 knives with a blade under 3in long were confiscated, with 20 knives with a blade over 3in taken out of people’s hands at Northampton Magistrates’ Court.

Six replica firearms, such as toy guns and BB guns, were taken at the entrance to courts in the county.

Five firearms which come under the ‘other’ category, which includes CS gas and Taser, were confiscated at Northampton Magistrates’ Court.

The most frequent item taken from those entering Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court was liquids, including alchol.

A total of 55 vessels were taken there, with 628 confiscated at courts in the county.

Those taking any liquids into court are routinely asked to take a sip by a court security officer before they are allowed to take it in.

Other banned items which were confiscated, and the number confiscated in Northamptonshire courts, include: tools (641), cameras (63), recording devices (37) and general sharps (609).

It is a criminal offence to take pictures, video or audio recordings in a court and those caught doing so may face immediate custody.

However, people are still allowed to take their phones into court.

The number of items seized this year which fell into the ‘other’ category was 11,332.

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said: “We have a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the judiciary.

“The system includes mandatory bag searches, the use of modern security searching equipment and surveillance cameras, as well as court security officers with the powers to restrain and remove people from the building should there be a need.

“Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate, and mitigates against the risks faced.

“Under section 54 of the Courts Act 2003 a CSO must, if they reasonably believe an article ought to be surrendered, request its surrender.

“If it is not surrendered, it may be seized.

“A notice detailing items deemed to be prohibited is displayed in the court entrance area.

“This list gives an indication of the items considered to be prohibited, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.”

Court security officers can seize an item if it may jeopardise the maintenance of order of the court building, may put the safety of anyone in the building at risk, or may be evidence of an offence.