A TIRELESS anti-knife campaigner has spoken out as new sentences for carrying knives in public comes into force.

Ann Oakes-Odger has been instrumental in raising awareness of knife crime since her son, Westley, 27, was killed in Colchester seven years ago.

On Monday, new sentences will be introduced which will see adults jailed for at least six months for brandishing knives in public.

Youngsters aged 16 to 17-years-old will be sent to a detention and training centre for four months.

But Mrs Oakes-Odger, the founder of the lobby group KnifeCrimes.Org and Victims' Advocates, said youngsters should be given one chance.

Mrs Oakes-Odger, who was awarded an MBE for her campaigning work, said: “I was not consulted on the sentencing. If I had been I would have told them adults carrying knives should feel the full force of the law.

“However, to impose a sentence like this on a youngster, if it is their first offence, is wrong."

For more on this story, see Monday's Gazette.