POLICE in Dorset will target “habitual knife carriers” this week as part of a national operation.

They will operate in so-called hotspot areas alongside a knife amnesty.

And they have warned the public that they could be sent to prison for four years for carrying a knife.

Last month five teenagers were arrested after four youths suffered stab wounds in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens following the Friday night fireworks over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The teenagers, including a 13-year-old girl, have been questioned by detectives and released under investigation.

The operation and amnesty, part of the national Operation Sceptre, runs until Saturday September 21 and members of the public of any age can dispose of unwanted knives and bladed items at police stations, anonymously and without fear of prosecution.

Operation Sceptre is a national police initiative which began in 2015. Dates for the periodic knife amnesties are set by The Metropolitan Police.

Dorset Police have stressed their involvement is not a reaction to a rise in knife crime in the area but a useful operation to remove unwanted knives and bladed weapons from circulation.

They said bins will be available at police stations and proactive policing will take place in areas which have seen a rise in knife-related incidents.

Knives of any description can be disposed of including swords, kitchen knives, illegal lock knives, unwanted collectibles, replicas and ceremonial items.

Inspector Stuart Pitman said: “Here in Dorset we do not have the extent of knife crime reported in some major metropolitan areas of the country.

“However we are not complacent, noting a rise in knife related incidents in localised areas, and so alongside proactive policing Dorset Police is supporting this weeks’ national knife amnesty as part of its ongoing local approach to focussing upon prevention.

“Any knife taken out of circulation and off the street helps to prevent injuries and deaths.”

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Thousands of weapons, including Samurai swords, have been handed in during previous amnesties in Dorset.

Opening times for police stations with special bins, and for other stations that have more limited opening, can be found at dorset.police.uk/contact-us/visit-us