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Zombie knives: possession, use and criminal sentences

By Michael Devlin

Published In: Crime

In recent years, the term "zombie knives" has become synonymous with a disturbing trend in weaponry and violent crime. Zombie knives are often covered with designs inspired by horror films and TV shows, recently they’ve found their way into the lives of many, including school children and young adults.

Photo of police arresting a young man in a hoodie

Understanding what zombie knives are, the dangers they pose, and the legal repercussions of possessing or using one in the UK is crucial for public safety.

What are zombie knives?

Zombie knives are large blades often with serrated edges, multiple cutting surfaces, and blood-soaked motifs. These knives are designed to look like they belong in the hands of a post-apocalyptic survivor fighting off hordes of undead. Their aesthetic appeal hides their primary purpose: inflicting maximum damage.

The marketing of these weapons taps into a fascination with horror and violence, making them especially attractive to teens and young adults. Their use has been linked to a rise in violent crimes, prompting significant concern among law enforcement and the general public.

Zombie knives and the law

Recognising the threat posed by zombie knives, the UK government has taken stringent measures to curb their production and use. Under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, it’s illegal to sell, import, or possess a zombie knife. The law specifically targets blades that have:

  • A cutting edge
  • A serrated edge
  • Images or words on the blade or handle that suggest they’re for violent use

This legislation was designed to close loopholes and ensure these weapons are kept off the streets.

Punishments for possession and use of zombie knives

The UK has implemented severe penalties for those caught with zombie knives. If you’re found in possession of one, you could face:

  • For a second offence of possessing a weapon it’s a minimum of at least six months custody
  • Possession of a banned weapon could be up to two years in prison
  • Selling knives to under 18s can get a two-year prison sentence
  • Possessing a zombie knife on private premises can be sentenced with up to 6 months imprisonment
  • An unlimited fine
  • Both prison and a fine

These punishments reflect the serious nature of carrying a weapon. The consequences escalate dramatically if a zombie knife is involved in a crime. In such cases, individuals can expect harsher sentences and, depending on the severity of the offense, potentially longer imprisonment.

The strict laws around zombie knives aren’t just theoretical. There have been many cases where individuals caught with these weapons have faced the full force of the law. For example, in 2018, a man in London was sentenced to 12 months in prison for carrying a zombie knife in public. This case underscored the government's zero-tolerance policy and served as a stark warning to others. In some cases a harder sentence is passed to act as a deterrent to others.

Do you need to speak to a criminal law solicitor? Contact our team today on 0800 138 0458 or email


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Michael has 20 years’ experience in criminal law. He is a Solicitor Advocate, Duty Solicitor and leads our Crime team.

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