Makeshift weapons like corkscrews and pencil sharpener blades being taken onto Swindon’s streets, children have told youth workers.

It follows claims earlier in the year that cattle prods had been used on people in Pinehurst as youth gangs and County Lines drug dealers turn to violence.

Andy Reeves is clerk of Central Swindon North Parish Council, which has hired new youth workers to counter anti-social behaviour in areas like Penhill and Pinehurst.

“In the 10-months we’ve been investing in youth work we have uncovered some disturbing anecdotal stories from young people, particularly on the range of weapons in the area - not just knives but small bats, bars and makeshift weapons from seemingly benign household items like corkscrews and the blades found in pencil sharpeners,” he said.

“Often, we’re told weapons are carried as a form of protection or respect.

“Most local flash points appear to be over territorial disputes or drugs but involve a very small cohort of young people.”

Earlier this summer, the parish put on a knife crime “rally” – a day-long event to show youngsters the dangers of blades. Mr Reeves said: “To combat the rise in the use of weapons, the parish council quickly recognised that police can’t tackle it alone. It’s clear educating young people on the dangers of carrying starts at home with parents and more needs to be done to help educate and support parents to be vigilant.”

In February, Swindon Youth Court was told stories of dangerous weapons being used by gangsters on their rivals, as magistrates considered the case of a 17-year-old boy who pointed a machete at an older man in an argument in Pinehurst.

Julie Coleman, of the Swindon youth offending team, said of violence in the area: “It’s a major problem. I’m hearing things like cattle prods are being used on people.” She added: "There’s a lot going on in Pinehurst at the moment in respect of gangs, violence and County Lines.”