MEET the man who is single-handedly taking weapons off Reading's streets in his own amnesty.

Odane Cross, a resident of Tilehurst, has been busy recently holding his own police-verified knife amnesty across Reading and its surrounding areas.

The amnesty has been running since February 19, after he was granted permission by Police, and Mr Cross said he was inspired after a number of deaths involving knives recently.

It comes alongside local calls to help stamp out knife crime, backed by a Reading Chronicle campaign, as several serious incidents have prompted murder investigations in the town in recent months.

Mr Cross said: "The boy who died on Dulnan Close was on my doorstep, and a mate of mine died in my arms after being stabbed in London when I was 15.

"I was sick and tired of it, and something had to be done.

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Pictures by Odane Cross.

Pictures by Odane Cross.

"Me and a policeman had a conversation, asking me how I felt about the knife crime situation, and I came up with the idea of doing it [running the amnesty]."

Mr Cross has been either having knife-carriers come to him, as well as him picking weapons up from wherever they are, and he has guaranteed anonymity to anyone who hands in their weapons.

So far, he claims he has collected more than 10 knives in the three days since starting, and he plans to continue this every day from now.

"This is not something I'm doing part time," he added. "I know I can't stop knife crime, but I can try and reduce it if i can, and make more awareness on the street."

Mr Cross told The Chronicle that he asks knife-carriers - most of which he claims are aged between 13 to 15 - why they carry blades. He says most of the time they respond with "I don't know."

He adds: "I explain to them, if you stab someone you're going to ruin your life and the life of the person whose life you're killing, and you're ruining their family and your family.

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Odane Cross, the man holding the amnesty. Pic: Paul King

Odane Cross, the man holding the amnesty. Pic: Paul King

"You could lose a family member through retaliation over your stupidity by carrying a knife.

"When you look at some of the people that are carrying the knives and the kind of knives they are carrying, it can be scary.

"One knife was about four and a half foot long. You know when you see them war films? It was like that, and it was sharp.

"I want my story shared so someone, far or near, starts their own amnesty too. I don't want anything for it - all I want is more knives off the streets."

As part of the amnesty plans, Mr Cross has launched his own 'Trade the Blade' campaign. This means that anyone who surrenders a knife to him are offered 50 per cent off their meal if they buy from his home-made Jamaican takeaway, Cross Kitchen.

Cross Kitchens Trade The Blade deal

Cross Kitchen's 'Trade The Blade' deal

"This is happening on people's doorsteps - kids killing kids. People thought at first I was keeping the knives for myself because I couldn't show to people that the police were taking them, but now they know and they support me.

"All of Reading is behind me."

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "We are aware of this knife amnesty being run by a man locally in Reading.

"Despite the force not participating directly in this amnesty, we would thank members of the public who wish to play a part in reducing serious violence and knife crime in our communities.

"We all have a part to play in reducing knife crime.

"The force recognises that serious violence and knife crime is a serious issue, and we are continuing to do all that is possible to combat this across the Thames Valley, and disrupting this form of crime is a priority for us.

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"We also join with police forces across the country twice a year to participate in Operation Sceptre, a national week of action designed to tackle knife crime by taking knives and bladed articles off the streets, and reducing the number of those involved in knife crime."

The spokesman added that since the beginning of 2021 there have tragically been five murder investigations launched by police, all of which involved knives being used, as well as other knife-related incidents.

In a bid to combat this, Police are using of Section 60 orders which increase police powers to stop and search, increasing intelligence-led patrols in areas affected, executing warrants, using knife arches, knife wands, and knife bins. Police added that there are a number of security measures that the public do not see.

To get in touch anonymously, message Odane Cross on, or call on 0773 4422 400.