Young people in the Parks, Pinehurst and Eldene are at most risk of exploitation by criminals and gangs, councillors will be told today.

A report to Swindon Borough Council’s children’s health, care and education scrutiny committee will discuss the work of the authority’s teams who try and help youngsters with drug issues and those who have been in trouble with the police.

The report says in the last year 140 people were referred to the U-turn substance misuse service in the last year – with young men and boys vastly outnumbering women and girls by 96 to 44.

Cannabis is the most used substance, in 97 cases, with alcohol next at 22 and then six referrals for ecstasy.

The report says: “This is in line with national drug trends and is reflective of the town as a whole. All areas of Swindon are now showing evidence of substance misuse.”

It adds that gangs and county lines operations are increasing their impact on young people, steadily.

The report also discusses the work of the youth offending team at the borough council.

It shows the split between young men and women who have been in trouble with the law is even starker, with 81 per cent being male and 19 per cent being female.

The ages of 16 and 17 are the most prevalent for young offenders, making up 64 per cent of the total in Swindon, and north Swindon sees 43 per cent of offences committed by young people, followed by the eastern part of the borough at 27 per cent.

It says the re-offending rate in Swindon is coming down: “The most recent indicators are a figure of 39.5 per cent for the year January to December 2018 with last nine months, April to December 2018, showing as 11.7 per cent.

“This is against a national average of 37.7 per cent. Swindon is slightly higher therefore but with a downward trend.”

The committee meets at 6pm this evening at the civic office in Euclid Street.