STABBING victims accounted for up to 87 admissions to hospitals in Cheshire last year, figures suggest.

The Ben Kinsella Trust anti-knife crime charity said the Government must take steps to prevent another rise in attacks across the country as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

NHS Digital suppresses small numbers to protect victims' identities, but data shows there were between 21 and 87 hospital admissions in Cheshire following an assault with a sharp object in 2020.

This was compared to between 30 and 90 the year before.

Across England and Wales, there were 4,100 hospital admissions after attacks involving a sharp object last year, down from 4,800 in 2019.

However, the Ben Kinsella Trust said the drop last year was largely achieved because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Chief executive Patrick Green said: "While any drop in knife crime is clearly a good thing, there is an ominous warning contained in these figures.

"As the country unlocked in July, blade attacks soared."

The NHS figures also showed that around 40 per cent of all hospital admissions across England were victims aged under 25.

In Cheshire, no fewer than seven admissions were for under-25s, while 80 were for those older.

Charity Stand Against Violence said people become involved in violent crime for many different reasons, including desperation, fear and status.

Dave Urwin, community funding and development officer at the organisation, said multi-agency collaboration is needed to prevent another rise in knife crime this summer.

He added: "Sufficient funding and support needs to be given to those who are working to prevent violence and everyone needs to be aware how pressing an issue this is."

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said the Government is investing millions into tackling the causes of violent crime, supporting 'vital' youth projects and working with local partners to protect young people at risk.

He added: “Too many young lives are being needlessly lost.

"We are working closely with the police and others to stop this senseless bloodshed, particularly as Covid restrictions are eased over coming months."