A community knife amnesty group is furious with Waltham Forest Council after being served fines for banners and stickers advertising the service.

Ran entirely by volunteers, Binning Knives Saves Lives was launched in May this year.

The DIY knife amnesty bin – a converted residential wheelie bin – has removed 558 knives from east London streets since its inception.

Courtney Barrett says he started the initiative in response to rising violent crime and a belief that local authorities were not doing enough to address the issue.

Mr Barrett, 45, and his team of volunteers go door to door with the knife bin talking to residents, handing out information leaflets and stickers.

He says he used to put up stickers and posters around the borough himself, before receiving penalty charge notices (PCNs) for flyposting.

“I get more and more fines by the day,” he said.

“We gave a lot of stickers out to the public and I think some of them have been putting them up which has led to me getting more fines.

“It’s akin to walking down the street and finding a Sainsbury’s carrier bag and fining them for it.”

Mr Barrett appealed for the council to ‘see sense’ and stop punishing him for trying to help combat violent crime.

He added: “We get so much love and support from the community, and it really is a community effort what we do.

“The support we receive outweighs any of the negativity we are facing as everyone thinks we are doing a good job helping fight knife crime.

“We are just trying to help but the council is the only hurdle keeping us from doing so – I’m just someone who cares and decided to do something about it.”

A Waltham Forest Council spokesperson said: “We know that our residents value clean, tidy streets. Like all local authorities we take fly posting seriously. Taxpayers’ money that could be used to fund essential services must instead be spent on cleaning up unsightly stickers and posters.

“Waltham Forest Council has increased funding by an additional £800,000 over the next four years on top of the £2.2 million already allocated for our gang prevention programme to keep young people away from the gang lifestyle and reduce knife crime.

“The rise in youth violence seen across London and the UK has led to Waltham Forest Council working even more closely with partners and the community. Our new Violence Reduction Partnership brings together the Metropolitan Police, health and education services, and the community and voluntary sectors to provide a joined-up approach to reduce crime in Waltham Forest and improve all residents’ life chances.”