WITH two-foot long serrated blades and easy grip handles, so-called “zombie killer” machetes might just be the perfect weapon against the undead.

But in reality, with the zombie apocalypse restricted to the realms of TV fantasies like The Walking Dead, they are just another deadly element of the UK’s knife crime epidemic.

Nationally, a total of 6,908 knives were confiscated by the courts in England and Wales last year, with official figures showing a rise in knife crime for the first time in four years, partly fuelled by the availability of weapons on the internet.

The zombie killers, used increasingly in drug gang violence, are not the only extreme weapons being being found on the streets of south Essex.

Last week, a sword was produced during a mass brawl in a car park outside the Loyal Toast pub in Southend.

Nobody was found at the scene so it is not known if anyone was injured.

Caroline Shearer set up weapons awareness charity Only Cowards Carry in November 2012 after her son, Jay Whiston, 18, was stabbed to death at a house party in Colchester in 2012.

She said swords, meat cleavers and extreme knives cause additional problems in the fight against knife crime because so many deadly weapons are already available in homes.

She said: “Zombie killers are really, really bad, but when you look at it, over 53 per cent of stabbings are with knives from people’s kitchens.”

Mrs Shearer said websites should only be allowed to sell the weapons for legitimate reasons.

While martial artists might have grounds to buy a sword, she believes other weapons such as blades made to look like credit cards, sharpened earrings and umbrella swords have no legitimate purpose.

She said: “I really believe all knives should be licensed. That way if someone is carrying one there has to be a reason.

“For example, if you are a fisherman you may need to have a knife, but that would be licensed.

“The licence fee would then fund the education the kids need. That’s what I would like to see.”

In April, 17-year-old Blaise Lewington was jailed for the manslaughter of Islington teenager Stefan Appleton with a zombie killer “Slasher” machete.

That weapon can be found for sale on a UK-based website for £25 where the advert reads: “The Slasher could make all the difference between surviving armageddon or becoming a zombie happy meal.”

Another advert, for a serrated axe blade said: “The Zombie Hexan Axe is another close up way of exterminating the walking dead, but from time to time they might just get up and walk again.”

But as relatives of knife crime victims can testify, real people often do not get back up again.

The government plans to ban zombie killers and introduce a punishment of up to four years in prison.

In 2008, the government added swords with a curved blade of 50 cm or more to the Offensive Weapons Order in response to more than 80 attacks and four deaths in the preceding four years.

Anyone breaking the ban can be jailed for up to six months and fined £5,000.

But hundreds of different swords are easily available online, with many based on weapons seen in films and TV shows like Game of Thrones.

One website advertises a two-foot long samurai sword- similar to one seized in Leigh last month- for £434.

But on other sites, replicas of swords featured in films such as Kill Bill can be found for as little as £60.

One of the first blades dropped off anonymously to a new knife amnesty bin outside Southend police station, in Victoria Avenue, earlier this month, was a two foot long machete.

Sgt Kayleigh Webster, of Southend police, believes youngsters are starting to get the message about knife crime.

She has overseen Operation Mossbank since January, which has seen officers use stop and search powers in targeted areas including the Southend High Street, the seafront, Sutton Road, Hamlett Court Road and York Road in an effort to seize knives.

So far, there have been 50 positive stops, with 40 people charged and 200 knives taken off the streets.

She said: “It’s been about policing the hotspots with high visibility patrols and also officers in plain clothes.

“So far it’s been very successful. I’ve seen the impact of knife crime myself after attending quite a few incidents and it is just awful.

“I think the message is getting out there.”