In Scotland, man deemed to have “significant learning difficulties” was arrested and jailed when he was found to be carrying a potato peeler “without reasonable excuse.” The 39-year-old Scott Walker admitted in Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Monday that he was carrying a potato peeler in public. According to Scotland's definition, a potato peeler is prohibited in public as an edged weapon because it has a “blade” or is “sharply pointed.”

Dunfermline Sheriff Court has charged Walker under the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act of 1995. Walker is possibly facing four years in prison. Sentencing is expected on May 16. 

In court, Walker's defense solicitor said he “suffers from significant learning difficulties which have been lifelong.”

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to carry a knife or blade longer than three inches in public “without good reason.” The courts decide what constitutes a “good reason” to carry a knife. According to a UK government website: “A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife or a weapon if you’re charged with carrying it illegally.”

Walker's arrest came while the United Kingdom has seen an uptick in violent crime. So far in 2018, 60 people have been stabbed to death in London. In response, Mayor Sadiq Khan has put a “knife control” initiative to keep pointy things off the British capital's streets. “No Excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Khan tweeted in April. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

In 2015, London's Metropolitan Police launched “Operation Spectre” in an effort to seize pointy things, including screwdrivers, scissors, and files. Since then, London's police has conducted 5,791 weapon sweeps and concluded 2,294 arrests and the removal of 1,435 weapons from the streets of London.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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