A PLAN to introduce a knife licensing scheme is so "crazy" and "unworkable" that knitting needles will be classed as a weapon, according to a Dunfermline councillor.

Labour's Mike Rumney said the Scottish Government's new mandatory scheme, which starts on Tuesday and is designed to curb knife crime, had completely missed the point.

Confused Fife Council officials have even resorted to looking up a Wikipedia site on the Internet to try and find out how they should implement the scheme.

They said the Government's failure to define what was meant by a "domestic" knife was "extremely unhelpful" in determining who requires a licence and could mean the act applies to supermarkets, DIY chains, wholesalers, garden centres, gift shops and stationery providers.

Dunfermline South Councillor Rumney, who is on the regulation and licensing committee, said, "Under this plan anyone selling garden tools would have to be licensed as anything with a blade or a point seems to come under the act.

"Does it mean shops selling knitting needles have to be licensed? That's how crazy it is." The problem surrounds a section of the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007 which has been amended to include a new licensing scheme for knife dealers.

From 1st December retailers will need a licence, costing £350, to sell any knives that are over 3.5 inches long and are not "designed for domestic use".

The bill will cover the sale of axes, swords and other weapons but it also includes "any other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed".

It will be an offence to sell these articles to anyone under 18 but mature teenagers could also find trouble if they need to shave as razor blades also fall under the act. Councillor Rumney said, "To me this is unworkable as, in my opinion, the vast majority of stabbings and slashings are done by someone lifting a domestic knife from the kitchen.

"If there's a fight or disturbance in and around the home, the first knife they can lay their hands on is a kitchen knife.

"Gang fights, people arming themselves before they go out, they're not nipping down to the shop to buy a knife. They're taking it from the kitchen drawer.

"But domestic knives won't be licensed." And he added, "Part of the problem is they've passed the legislation but not given any guidance whatsoever about how it should be implemented.

"They've left it to the local authorities but you have 32 of them in Scotland so they could all have different licensing laws.

"If a teenager couldn't buy a knife in Kincardine they may be able to go a mile or so into Alloa and buy one there as they may have a different regime. I just can't see how it can work." A Fife Council report said, "Of particular concern is the fact that some kitchen knives, such as bread knives, have the potential to be used as weapons in violent incidents.

"Also, Stanley knives, letter openers and other similar tools can come under the headings of both domestic and non-domestic use.

"For example, an electrician may have identical Stanley knives in his house and in his workshop. The former is domestic and the latter is non-domestic." And it added, "We have looked at the dictionary meanings of 'domestic', 'knife', 'sword' and 'blade' for assistance. Wikipedia and Wiktionary have been used to obtain the definitions." A Scottish Government spokeswoman said that a more precise definition of what is a domestic knife would "have given rise to all manner of anomalies and loopholes". She said, "Whilst it's ultimately a matter for the courts, we believe a common sense approach would make it clear what will be caught and what won't be. "Where there is any doubt we would urge dealers' to exercise caution and come forward for licensing.

"Anyone who has read the Act properly would see that it refers to knives, knife blades, swords and any other bladed or sharply pointed article which is made or adapted for causing injury. "A study in Strathclyde in 2005 showed that of 1301 knife attacks, over 1100 were in a public place and involved the use of a non-domestic knife. "Young people often carry knives for reasons of bravado and status which is why they choose large intimidating looking hunting knives rather than their 'mammies' bread knife.

"We don't expect the scheme to provide the whole answer to knife crime. However, it will tackle a small minority of irresponsible dealers' and make it harder for potentially lethal weapons to fall into the wrong hands."