A crackdown on the sales of knives would have a serious impact on a Cumbrian company which supplies specialist wood-carving tools, its owner said.

In a bid to halt the rising tide of knife crime, the Government wants to make it harder for young people to buy bladed products online by introducing the Offensive Weapons Bill.

The proposed bill creates new criminal offences prohibiting the dispatch of bladed products to residential addresses, meaning the purchaser will have to collect the item in person from a location where their age can be checked.

But for Garry Stevenson, founder of G&S Specialist Timber, based at Stainton near Penrith, the bill would mean he will no longer be able to sell tools online to people whose hobby is carving and wood-turning.

He has enlisted the help of Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, who has promised to take the issue up at ministerial level.

Mr Stevenson, who employs over 20 people at his timber works, does the majority of his business online and regularly ships bladed tools to businesses and craftsmen in Britain and across the world.

He said: "If this comes in we can still send tools to business addresses but won't be able to supply to private customers such as hobbyists.

"It seems to me to be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. I can't imagine anyone buying a carving tool to carry out knife crime. They don't bend or fold and are awkward to carry around."

Mr Stevenson, who sells and makes a range of timber products as well as selling carving equipment, said there were only a few specialist firms around the UK selling these tools.

"A ban on online sales would have a detrimental impact on my company," he said.

"If this law comes in I wouldn't be able to justify supplying these tools any longer."

Mr Stewart, who visited Mr Stevenson, said: “The fight against knife crime is a serious one and, although I share the Government’s strong desire to ensure that offensive weapons do not end up in the hands of criminals, I am nonetheless concerned at the impact it will have on businesses like Garry’s.

"We need to approach this sensitively, ensuring that these measures are implemented in such a way that we combat the scourge of knife crime while also ensuring that small, local businesses, like Garry’s, do not unnecessarily suffer in the process”.

The bill has passed its first and second readings in the House of Commons and is currently in committee stage, during which amendments can be submitted for Government consideration.