A former England footballer is supporting a campaign to tackle knife crime through sport.

Rachel Yankey OBE and Harpenden Colts FC is supporting Hertfordshire’s Constabulary’s #Livesnotknives campaign.

Officers took part in an event organised by the club at the British Legion in Harpenden last Tuesday (September 17).

Yankey delivered a talk to the players and coaching team about the opportunities offered by sport. The event coincided with Operation Sceptre, a national knife amnesty which ran between September 16 and 22.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s gangs and schools team Sergeant Helen Croughton said: “We are delighted that Harpenden Colts FC has joined our campaign and is helping us to spread the message.

“I’d like to thank Rachel for supporting us in this initiative, she is a great example of what can be achieved through hard work, commitment and a real love of sport.

“We are using sport as a means of engaging with young people and it is so important for positive role models to demonstrate their support against knife crime.

“The campaign encourages young people to talk about the issues around knife crime and how this may be affecting them, we want to work with sports teams and other agencies to help prevent young people from feeling they need to carry a weapon.”

The campaign was launched back in July with Stevenage FC to promote preventative messages and raise awareness of the damages of knife crime.

Since the launch, Watford FC and Herts Basketball have given their support for the campaign and the police have had other football and basketball clubs in the county who are interested in becoming involved.

Harpenden Colts FC chairman Richard Bandell said: “Harpenden Colts wholeheartedly supports the Lives not Knives campaign.

“Our aim is to make our young players aware of the risks of carrying a knife. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our players.

“We hope the campaign will help them to make better choices and to channel their efforts and talent into building self-confidence through their involvement in football.”