Matt Easton

Matt Easton of Easton Antique Arms.

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Matt Easton of Easton Antique Arms has written to his local MP Jeremy Hunt and contacted antiques trade associations to rally support.

His efforts follow a recent announcement by Royal Mail, and its courier and logistics arm Parcelforce, that it will no longer deliver swords and daggers from May 7.

Easton, who also runs the historical fencing club Schola Gladiatoria, said: “This impacts a huge number of people and businesses, including the antiques trade, the TV/movie industry, theatres, schools, universities, fencing clubs, historical reenactment societies, museums and makers.

“We have complied with all laws and regulations, carried out age checks and used age verification services. Many of us have customers worldwide and are renowned for our products.”

Easton added that Parcelforce has a “specific firearms shipping team, and options for transporting antique and modern firearms, as well as ammunition and explosives. It seems reasonable and completely viable therefore that a special service can be tagged onto this for swords and similar items.”

Royal Mail list

Royal Mail's bladed items changes.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We have been considering our position on the carriage of bladed items, with the aim of reducing the risk of a bladed item falling into the wrong hands, to ensure both public safety and that of our posties.

“We wrote to potentially impacted customers earlier this year to give them notice of our intention to prohibit bladed items from our network. Bladed items can currently be sent through our network using an age verification product.

“After speaking to our customers, we have since further refined our policy. Instead, now some types of blades will be prohibited (eg swords, daggers, fantasy knives), some will be permitted (eg scissors, small folding pocket knives), and some will be restricted to our Age Verification product subject to additional safeguards, such as secure packaging and clear labelling (eg cutlery, utility knives). We have written to affected customers with our revised position.”

Earlier this year the government announced plans to ban ‘zombie-style’ knives to “close a loophole” in the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The changes will come into effect in the autumn. It is in reaction to fears of an increase in knife crime and deaths, particularly using large ‘zombie-style’ knives.

However, Easton said: “Kitchen knives, which were estimated by Kent Police as used in over 70% of stabbings, are still being taken by Royal Mail and Parcelforce.”

A full list of prohibited items at Royal Mail/Parcelforce is online here: