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'It's shocking kids are doing this': George Kinsella finds weapons stashed in Rosemary Gardens

PUBLISHED: 13:50 04 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19 25 May 2017

George Kinsella, Insp Steven Murfin, Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher, PC Kitchingham and Pat Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust outside Islington Town Hall ahead of the weapon sweep. Picture: Polly Hancock

George Kinsella, Insp Steven Murfin, Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher, PC Kitchingham and Pat Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust outside Islington Town Hall ahead of the weapon sweep. Picture: Polly Hancock

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The dad of murdered Ben Kinsella said “it’s shocking that the kids are doing this” – after finding weapons hidden in an Islington park.

A flick knife was found in undergrowth in Rosemary Gardens. Picture: Polly HancockA flick knife was found in undergrowth in Rosemary Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock

George Kinsella and Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher joined Canonbury police officers on a weapon sweep in Rosemary Gardens yesterday morning.

Only minutes into the search, the team found a flick knife stashed in undergrowth. Later, they found a large screwdriver with a sharp edge near the park entrance.

It is a regular tactic for offenders to hide knives and weapons in parks, providing easy access and removing the possibility of being arrested for possession.

George, 57, told the Gazette: “It’s shocking that the kids are doing this, hiding weapons in bushes and plants knowing that they may use them later on. They may even have been used already.

George Kinsella joins officers in the Rosemary Gardens weapon sweep. Picture: Polly HancockGeorge Kinsella joins officers in the Rosemary Gardens weapon sweep. Picture: Polly Hancock

“Also, what if a toddler is mucking about in the park and gets their hands on a knife? You never know what could happen.”

In 2008, George’s 16-year-old son Ben was stabbed to death by three thugs in North Road in the Cally. It remains one of the UK’s most notorious murder cases, and led to George co-founding the anti-knife crime Ben Kinsella Trust.

Islington police forces regulary carry out weapon sweeps around the borough’s parks and streets. Last year, the Old Bailey heard how teenager Stefan Appleton was stabbed to death in Nightingale Park, Canonbury, with a “zombie killer” machete picked up from a bush in the Mayville Estate on the Islington/Hackney border.

The team moved on to Mayville after Rosemary Gardens, where no further weapons were found.

George said: “Any knife taken off the streets is a good result which we can take heart from. The more that are taken away, the less chance there is of someone getting hurt.

“We didn’t realise the police are doing these sweeps, sometimes on a daily basis. It’s great work but it does go unpublicised, so we wanted to get out there and help out.

“Maybe more organisations, like the Ben Kinsella Trust, could get involved with the police on weapon sweeps. The more people out there looking for them – under police supervision – the more chance of finding the weapons. That would certainly be the way forward, for me.”

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