YOUTHS have been warned against arming themselves in the mistaken belief it will make them safer.

It came as an 18-year-old boy was sentenced for shooting a love rival in the face, while his friend stabbed another man in the back with a vicious zombie knife.

And the warning, from Wiltshire Police’s head of crime prevention, was issued on the same day as a Railway Village man was jailed for seven years and three months over a Samurai sword stabbing. Terence Ryan, 40, attacked his friend Lee Sparkes believing the man was trying to steal his sick mother’s morphine.

Sonja Leith, head of crime prevention at Wiltshire Police, claimed the force was committed to educating particularly younger people about the dangers of carrying knives.

“We are carrying out a wide range of proactive work and activities aimed at highlighting the impact that knife crime has on our communities,” she said.

“Although these types of incidents are rare, it is still incredibly concerning when we have cases where young people are carrying weapons and then using them to assault others.

“However, it is important to stress that the vast majority of young people do not carry knives and those who do have a much higher likelihood of becoming a victim of knife crime themselves.

“We would hate to think that young people were arming themselves with the misguided view that this makes them safer, when in fact the very opposite is true.”

Knife crime has increased slightly in Wiltshire over the past year. Home Office figures showed a 25 per cent increase last year in the number of people reported to police for possession of dangerous weapons like knives. Crimes involving blades were up for a sixth year in a row, with 187 assaults, 77 knifepoint robberies and two attempted murders.

Since the start of the summer, there have been at least five stabbings on Swindon’s streets. Last week, two men appeared before magistrates over an alleged stabbing in Spring Gardens.

While reports of firearm incidents have also increased, many of these turn out to be false alarms. The number of crimes involving is low.

However, Det Sgt Scott Anger of Swindon CID pulled no punches – telling the Adver that Covingham Square attackers Jack Parfitt and Aaron Toward-Parker had no regard for the consequences of their actions.

“This was a very violent assault which could have very easily had serious, if not fatal, consequences,” the detective said.

“The victim who was stabbed had to be taken to hospital by ambulance with the large knife still in place and then had to have an operation to have the knife surgically removed.

“Luckily, he has gone on to make a good recovery, as has the other victim who was shot in the face but thankfully only received minor injuries.

“The two defendants went to that park carrying weapons with the intent of harming those they had gone to meet. They had no regard for the consequences of their actions or the fact that they could have seriously injured or even killed those that they attacked.

“I would like to commend the bravery of the victims, who have worked with police to make sure those responsible have been brought to justice.

“And I would like to applaud the actions of the police officers who attended the incident on the night and those who have worked tirelessly on this case over the past six months.”