An anti-knife crime statue has been unveiled in Middlesbrough.

The British Ironwork Centre's 27-foot sculpture arrived earlier this week and is based in the town's Centre Square.

It is first time it has been based in the North East and its arrival was marked at an official ceremony this morning, opened by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger and closed by Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston.

The statue was created at the centre near Oswestry and made of more than 100,000 weapons collected by police forces from across the country.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The arrival of the Knife Angel is an emotional time for victims’ families, but I know that bringing it to Cleveland is so important for them as it stands as a beacon for educating people on knife crime. It’s been a real team effort to get the sculpture to the area and I’m pleased that we are the first place in the North East to host it, with only four other places displaying the Angel.

“We hope thousands will come and visit the Knife Angel, and I would like to thank everyone involved including sponsors PD Ports, EDF Energy and Tees Valley Community Foundation.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “Knife crime blights communities and destroys lives.

“We’re delighted to host the sculpture in Middlesbrough, and look forward to welcoming 1,000’s of visitors from across the North East to Centre Square in August.

“Such a beautiful piece of art carries with it a powerful message about the senseless loss that accompanies all knife crime.”

The Knife Angel will leave Middlesbrough on September 2, and during its visit, youth engagement activities and other operational action by Cleveland Police will take place to raise awareness and educate on the consequences of knife crime.

Cleveland Police Chief Constable, Richard Lewis, added: “It’s humbling to see the Knife Angel and think that the weapons have been removed from UK streets. Our efforts continue to prevent and tackle knife crime, and it is a key focus of our work to protect vulnerable people going forward.

"Incidents in Cleveland are reducing, but this will only continue if we can educate communities on the dangers and bringing the Knife Angel to Middlesbrough will help us do this.”