Burton Mail claims first in knife-crime campaign

Midlands daily The Burton Mail is claiming a first after its anti-knife crime campaign resulted in the purchase of a new metal detecting scanner to check customers entering local nightspots.

The ‘Safer Burton’campaign was launched in response to the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Connor Upton outside a nightclub in 2010.

The Mail believes the purchase of the £3,000 device makes Burton one of the first towns in the country to have a dedicated mobile scanner which can be used at any of its venues.

The young daughters of Upton helped the paper unveil the detector, which editor Kevin Booth said was a significant development for the Safer Burton steering committee, which is chaired by Booth and includes campaign reporter Katie Bowler.

Upton’s mother Yvonne also sits on the committee and believes her son would still be alive had Burton possessed one of the knife-detecting archways when he was fatally stabbed.

Booth said: ‘The launch is a big milestone for us after months of hard work behind the scenes.

‘We believe buying the scanner will save lives and makes Burton one of – if not the first – town to have a device owned by the community rather than individual businesses. The plan is to raise funds for more.”

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths said: ‘The scanner symbolises how seriously we take safety in Burton. I’m sure lives will be saved as a result of it.”

Upton’s fiancee Leanne Bird, the mother of the couple’s daughters Destynne and Kirstynne, took them along to the launch at Burton and South Derbyshire College this week.

Students at the college have backed the campaign by designing posters for distribution to town centre pubs and clubs, and a logo which has been printed on special ‘Safer Burton’ T-shirts.

Cash for the scanner came from the Staffordshire Local Community Fund and Burton’s Joint Operations Group, headed by East Staffordshire Borough Council.

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