A THUG has been put behind bars after being caught hiding a knife in his waistband while waiting for a train.

Suwilanji Siwale, from Frinton, was detained by police officers at Chelmsford railway station on June 22.

The 21-year-old had initially been approached by a ticket inspector regarding his lack of a valid travel ticket.

Officers were called for support after suspicions were raised about Siwale’s “nervous behaviour”.

Gazette: Behind bars - Suwilanji Siwale was caught with a knife at Chelmsford railway stationBehind bars - Suwilanji Siwale was caught with a knife at Chelmsford railway station (Image: British Transport Police)

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard Siwale was then detained and searched, and a concealed knife was found in his waistband.

The defendant, of Heronsgate, Frinton, admitted possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place when he appeared before the court 24 hours later.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half months in prison during the hearing.

Moyses Coutinho, of British Transport Police’s County Lines Task Force, hailed the quick process which put Siwale behind bars.

Gazette: Detained - Siwale was caught with the blade at Chelmsford railway stationDetained - Siwale was caught with the blade at Chelmsford railway station

He said: “There is no reason why someone should carry a knife on the rail network, and I am pleased the courts were able to get this individual sentenced in such a timely manner.

“In 24 hours he was found, arrested and sentenced, taking another potentially dangerous individual off the streets.”

The latest available Ministry of Justice figures show just a quarter of knife and offensive weapons offenders were jailed in Essex last year.

The data reveals 120 offenders in Essex were given an immediate sentence in the year to September 2022.

Gazette: Crackdown - Chief Constable of Essex Police Ben Julian HarringtonCrackdown - Chief Constable of Essex Police Ben Julian Harrington (Image: Newsquest)

They account for 25 per cent of knife crime offenders who went through the criminal justice system.

Speaking to the Gazette in March, Chief Constable of Essex Police Ben-Julian Harrington vowed to crackdown on blade-related crime in the county.

He said: “It is a real issue, we have all seen the devastation knife crime can do on families.

“Violence is bad enough but if it involves a knife we all know the tragedy it can cause.”

Official figures show Essex Police destroyed 11,263 bladed weapons between May last year and March, totalling almost a tonne in weight.

“We are stopping and searching people and that is taking knives off the street,” added Mr Harrington.