POLICE recovered a knife close to the scene where Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody, was arrested, it has emerged.

It is understood the blade was found about 10 yards from the site of the incident in Hayfield Road in Kirkcaldy, Fife, when the 31-year-old was arrested after police were called a over a man carrying a knife in the street.

Father-of-two Mr Bayoh died in custody after the alleged incident in as yet unexplained circumstances involving up to nine officers.

A female officer was injured in the incident which began at around 7am on Sunday, May 3.

Aamer Anwar, lawyer for the Bayoh family, said that Mr Bayoh had not been carrying a knife when he was arrested and repeated claims that excessive force was used by police in the incident.

Friends and family helped set up the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign calling for answers over the death, currently being examined by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) watchdog.

An interim report on the investigation by Pirc is now being considered by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.

Mr Anwar said: “The family were always aware of reports of police responding to calls from the public with regards to a black man walking down the street with a knife.

“The family have repeatedly stated that when the police attended, Sheku Bayoh was not carrying any knife, nor did he brandish one, nor was one found upon him."

Mr Anwar added: “Any force used by police officers must at all times be legal, reasonable and proportionate.

“The family asks everyone to remember that Sheku did not have CS spray, batons or handcuffs or any weapon when he was stopped and dealt with by nine police officers.

"His family demand to know why he died and will not rest until they have the truth."

Professor Peter Watson, a legal adviser for the Scottish Police Federation union, said of the knife discovery claim: "That would accord with the information I hold."

A spokeswoman for Pirc said: "Earlier this month, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner submitted an interim report to the Crown Office on its independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh on May 3.

“Our team of experienced and skilled investigators has gathered evidence, taken statements from witnesses and recovered productions and continues to investigate complex lines of enquiry.

“The commissioner is pursuing further expert evidence in relation to the cause of death and is working closely with the Crown Office in this regard.

“While enquiries continue, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Police Scotland and the Crown Office said they are unable to comment while an investigation is ongoing.

Mr Bayoh's three sisters were among those at the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign launch in Glasgow and nearly 8,000 people have supported a Facebook page which says: "The family, friends and the public deserve answers leading to the death of Sheku Bayoh while in police custody".

Hundreds turned out in Kirkcaldy for Mr Bayoh's funeral in June including his mother Aminata Bayoh, who travelled from Sierra Leone.

The procession stopped for a two-minute silence outside Kirkcaldy police station.

Edward Turay, Sierra Leonean High Commissioner to the UK, also attended the funeral and later met with Scottish justice officials.