Metal detectors were yesterday installed at New Street Station in Birmingham in a bid to put a stop to people carrying weapons.

The airport-style scan-ners have been introduced by the British Transport Police (BTP) following successful trials in London, which saw almost 10,000 people scanned.

Of the thousands stopped 100 were arrested and 68 knives were seized.

A spokesman for BTP said selected passengers in Birmingham would be told to walk through the scanners to reveal whether they were carrying blades or other weapons.

Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Shanahan said: "These scanners have been very successful in cutting crime on the railways in London and this operation should do the same in Birmingham.

"We are trying to make an impact on the knife-carrying culture throughout the UK and we are seeking to tackle the problem on the railway network through the latest technology."

During the trials in London, he said suspects had been arrested by plain clothes officers after backing away from the metal detectors. "This is a zero tolerance policy and in every case where a weapon is found, there will be a prosecution," he said.

In addition to the two mobile scanners and hardware worth £14,000, the British Transport Police also received hand-held scanning devices.

The scanners will also be on loan to West Midlands Police, who will use them on for special events.

Pc Derek Alexander said: "Intelligence officers will make up a targeted profile of people who will be asked to walk through the scanner.

"The operation cannot be a success without the goodwill of the passengers of the rail network."