AN anti-knife campaigner has condemned the sentence given to a schoolboy caught carrying a knife in Leigh.

At Basildon Youth Court, the 15-year-old was given four months in a youth offenders prison.

Yet Caroline Shearer, 53, who founded Essex knife crime charity Only Cowards Carry after her son Jay Whiston, 17, was murdered in 2012, said it wasn’t good enough.

She said: “He’ll be out in six weeks and what is he going to learn in that time?

“We need strong sentences that are about three to four years and they need to do courses to learn about what they have done.

“I think we need strong guidelines for knife crime sentences and we need to stick to them.

“I would like to see this teenager complete awareness and education courses so he knows what he has done.”

However, the Southend Policing Team was pleased and took to Facebook to post the result.

A spokesman posted: “On Friday, August 26, a 15-year-old male was arrested in Leigh for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

“On Tuesday September 3, he attended court and was given an immediate four month custodial sentence.”

He was sentenced after being charged with possessing a knife in a public place.

In contrast to Mrs Shearer, a Southend senior councillor warmly welcomed the sentence given to the offender - and fact that another dangerous weapon had been taken off the streets.

Martin Terry, councillor for community safety, said: “The clear message from residents and the public is clear.

“Community safety is a number one priority, not just in Southend but across the whole of south Essex and the UK.

“Knife crime is being stamped out from great heights.

“I am not surprised to see a sharp sentence like this and think it sends out a strong message that people shouldn’t be carrying knives.

“I think this will reassure residents.”

Mrs Shearer disagreed and went on to say how he charity’s work was going really well.

She said: “I’ve been invited to be a stakeholder on the Roundtable in Government.

“This is something held up at Westminster if, and when, there are discussions on these issues.

“It will be a good platform for the charity and shows our work is being recognised by the Government which is really great news.”