Banbury fashion designer gives knife crime the boot

A Banbury mother and University of Northampton student has reacted to the town's growing gang related crime by designing a shocking pair of blood red boots.

Jo Allen, a mum-of-four and a Footwear and Accessories student, has been shocked by the activities of criminal gangs that have targeted her home town.

Jo Allen with the boot she has designed

Jo Allen with the boot she has designed

In 2018, eight people from Banbury were jailed as part of a police campaign to tackle organised crime and ‘county lines’ drug dealing, as reported by the Banbury Guardian.

While Jo feels powerless to do anything about the situation, she has managed to channel her anguish into something creative, by making the striking blood red leather boots, complete with carving knives for heels.

Jo said: “You might not think it if you were passing through, but Banbury is suffering from the activities of criminal gangs based in larger cities.

“It’s happening across the country, with trafficking networks being set up to bring drugs into smaller communities. With a railway station and the M40 on its doorstep, Banbury was ripe for infiltration by gangs from London and Birmingham.

Jo Allen's boot design

Jo Allen's boot design

Jo added: “Making the boots has been quite a therapeutic process for me, but I made them because I wanted to create something thought provoking.

"They are a visual statement which I hope will allow people to start that awkward conversation about what could be seen as a taboo topic in places like Banbury.”