A Woolwich man is single-handedly taking weapons off the streets through his own amnesty initiative.

Ryan Biddis, 26, collects knives and firearms from anyone who wishes to dispose of them as Protect our Children (POC) Patrol, operating primarily in Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham.

Protecting the anonymity of participants, who are under no obligation to explain how the item into their possession, he then hands them over safely to police.

Ryan felt compelled to launch the initiative in June last year, after making a grim discovery on Woolwich’s Cherry Orchard estate.

This Is Local London: Another recent haul by Ryan (Pictured)Another recent haul by Ryan (Pictured)

He told News Shopper: “I was outside playing football with my nephew and all his little mates who are just six, seven, eight years old.

“Once of the kids shouted for me, saying they found a knife in this donation bin opposite a primary school.

“That’s when I really started to push my Facebook page, trying to get it out there and make a difference.”

Around the same time, on a trip to Woolwich Town Centre, he saw Hawa Haragakiza washing the blood of her murdered son, Tamin, off the street.

Tamim Ian Habimana, 15, was fatally stabbed on July 5, one of 30 teen killings in 2021, which surpassed the previous peak of 29 in 2008.

“Hearing the pain in her screams, even now just thinking of it gives me goosebumps”, Ryan said.

“The idea of a mother cleaning her own son’s blood of the streets, it kind of disgusted me a bit.”

He reached out to Hawa to offer his support and has been in touch regularly ever since.

Ryan makes his details available through social media pages, meaning anyone can make contact if there is something they want collected.

He asks them to send an image in advance where possible and, if handing in a firearm, to keep ammunition separate and sealed.

“There are various ways a knife could end up with me,” Ryan said.

“Sometimes I just find them on the street, they could be handed to me by a young person.

“Sometimes normal members of the community, often elderly ladies, get in touch because they don’t believe in their local disposal bin.”

Ryan estimates he has already collected over 100 weapons since launching POC Patrol, which he hands over to police immediately after, having let them know in advance.

Reflecting on his hopes for the future, Ryan said: "At the moment, it's just a social media platform and mobile numbers.

"Ideally, I do want the community to get involved and to be a part of it, whether that be assisting on collections or sharing on social media."

You can view POC Patrol's Facebook page here

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