NEWS
21/02/2018 08:58 GMT | Updated 21/02/2018 10:02 GMT

Government Urged To Ban 'Zombie Crossbow' Over Fears Weapon Is Marketed At Children

Exclusive: Police commissioner makes plea after he reveals how easy it was to purchase

The Home Office has been urged to ban a “highly dangerous” crossbow after a police commissioner revealed how easy it was to buy the weapon he fears could be used to kill.

David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, has said he was able to buy a “Rapture Zombie Crossbow Pistol” for just £30.

In a letter to Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, he says he bought the crossbow from Hunter Knives, a retailer that says the weapon “packs a powerful bite and delivers high levels of control and accuracy up to 100 yards”.

It boasts the weapon “has everything a zombie hunter needs, the looks, power and a whole lot of kick-ass” and comes “with everything you need, bolts, string, knockends and can be fully assembled in a matter of minutes”.

West Midlands Police
The crossbow David Jamieson was able to buy

Hunter Knives previously sold so-called “zombie knives”, large weapons that Jamieson successfully campaigned to have banned in 2016.

Though the website emphasises the crossbow is only available to people over 18, Jamieson said he bought it without needing any photo ID.

Jamieson told Rudd the crossbow “should not be on the market” in his letter to her, seen by HuffPost UK.

He compared the crossbow to the zombie knives, which he said “had slogans such as skull crusher... [and] were aimed and marketed at young people but were far from toys”.

He said the crossbow was “a highly dangerous item that costs little more than £30”.

“These are highly dangerous weapons stylised in a very similar way to the ‘zombie knives’ and I have no doubt that, as a crossbow with 80lbs of draw power, these could easily be used to seriously injure or cause fatality to other people,” he wrote.

″This is deeply concerning item that exists on the market.”

West Midlands Police And Crime Commissioner
David Jamieson's letter to the Home Office, sent on Tuesday

The crossbow is due to be tested by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service to test how much damage its bolts can do.

Carrying a crossbow in public can be classed as an offence of carrying an offensive weapon, if police believe the person intends to use it against someone.

“Zombie knives” were banned in 2016 after Jamieson’s campaign, which saw the Government add them to weapons prohibited under the Criminal Justice Act 1998.

It is now a criminal offences to make, sell, import, sell or lend the weapon. The maximum punishment is six months in prison.

The knives were up to two feet long and had names such as “Head Decapitator” and “Death Dagger”.

West Midlands Police And Crime Commissioner
David Jamieson poses with a 'Head Splitter' during his campaign to ban zombie knives

“There can be no legitimate reason for anybody to need one of these,” then-Home Secretary Theresa May said of them as they were banned.

Jamieson said the Hunter Knives website was listing some of those weapons with “BANNED” emblazoned over it.

West Midlands Police And Crime Commissioner
A screengrab of the Hunter Knives website, taken by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
Hunters Knives
The crossbow as it appears on the website

Hunters Knives did not respond to a request for comment.

In his letter, Jamieson urged Rudd to “tighten the law to help keep our communities safe”. 

Last year, the Home Office announced it was consulting on tightening laws around the sale of offensive weapons.

One of the mooted changes was preventing weapons being sold online for delivery to private addresses and limiting them to delivery to places where photo ID can be checked.

A Home Office spokeswoman told HuffPost: “Crossbows are subject to strict controls and retailers are banned from selling them to a person under the age of 18. 

“We keep legislation under review and will consider the risk such weapons pose to public safety and if further measures are needed.”