SENIOR officers say knife crime is an issue they take incredibly seriously.

That message came after the third stabbing in Swindon in almost as many days.

Officers were called by the ambulance service shortly after midnight on Tuesday when two men arrived separately at Great Western Hospital with stab wounds.

One victim, a Swindon man in his 30s, suffered three stab wounds to his head and body while the other, a Swindon man in his 20s, was stabbed in the shoulder.

Yesterday, a trail of blood could be seen leading from the side door of a house on Victoria Road towards Union Row.

It follows an incident on Friday night, when police were called to Gladstone Street, Broadgreen, after a man in his 20s was slashed across the head.

Speaking after the latest knife incident, A/Insp David Tippetts of South Swindon Police said: “We know knife crime is a concern for people in Swindon and I want to reassure you that this is something we are taking incredibly seriously.

“Although I cannot discuss the specific details of the two most recent incidents, I do want to highlight that these types of assaults are very rarely random attacks and are very often linked to wider criminality in our communities.”

The officer, who has previously fronted knife amnesty campaigns for Wiltshire Police, cited the challenge from dangerous drugs gangs moving in on Swindon from larger cities like London and Birmingham: “Like every other police force up and down the country, we are working hard to tackle organised crime groups, such as County Lines networks, which are coming into our towns and cities and bringing with them drugs, violence and disorder.

“This is not something the police can do alone, which is why we have been carrying out ongoing community and partnership work, including our knife crime prevention work linked to Operation Sceptre.

“It is important to point out that it is only a very small minority of people who are involved in violent crime, and Swindon remains a safe place to live and work, with Wiltshire being one of the safest counties in the country.”

Victoria Road was shut for several hours on Tuesday morning, as police searched the scene of the Old Town stabbing. Police believe the two men could have been injured during the same assault.

Officers cordoned off an area in Victoria Road as part of their investigation.

Det Insp Helen Jacobs of Swindon CID said: “We know this incident will cause understandable concern amongst local people and I want to reassure you that we doing everything we can to find the person or people responsible.

“Although our enquiries are at a very early stage, we do not believe either of these men were injured in a random attack, and there is nothing to suggest there was any risk to the wider public.”

The latest Home Office figures, released last month, show knife convictions in Wiltshire increased slightly last year. The number of people sentenced or cautioned in Wiltshire for a knife or weapon offence rose from 169 in the 12 months to March 2018 to 177 this year.

Nationally, the number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level since 2010, the official figures revealed.

More than 22,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales in 2018-19. One in five of the culprits was aged between 10 and 17.

Swindon MP and justice minister Robert Buckland said new laws would make it harder for young people to buy knives.