The front page of The Messenger on September 19 brings to mind the recent tragic death of a schoolboy in Hale.

The involvement of drugs and knives. Then, a clear message was sent out: it does not matter too much if you carry a knife and use it in the furtherance of a crime, you may get away with a slap on the wrist, and told by the judge not to be naughty.

This has clearly happened again: a young man is robbed at knifepoint, and what do the participants get - sentences which with good behaviour means they will be out within a couple of years.

It reminds me of a Bob Dylan song of the 60s - "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol", that was based on a true incident in the USA, where the might of the law handed out a six-month sentence for the murder of a black servant, by a white man.

It is time that the carrying of a knife incurred a mandatory sentence of 10 years: if you carry a knife, you must be intending to use it, otherwise, why carry it?

If the knife is used, causing injury, the sentence should then increase to 15 years.

Perhaps then,with serious terms involved, there might be a reduction in knife crime.

Another thought: supposing instead of robbing him of £300,they had embezzled him of £300,000.

I have no doubt that the judge would have come down very heavily, at least 15 years: after all, money is far more important than life!

David Olliver