Laybys on rural roads around the borough are increasingly being used for criminal activity, particularly drug use, say councillors from country wards.

And they’d like more police attention to law-breaking outside urban areas from the police.

Councillors Gary Sumner, who represents Ridgeway ward, and Brian Ford, from Wroughton, want police to act on intelligence about where people are breaking the law.

Coun Sumner said: “I walk my dog up on the hills behind Wanborough to towards the Ridgeway, and I’m always seeing the bags and wraps that drugs are sold in, there are needles sometimes, and quite often nitrous oxide cannisters.

“People come up here to sit in the laybys and take drugs. It’s dark and the roads are straight and they have a good view, and they have a long time to see any cars coming, so it’s an easy place for their activities.

“One of the worrying things is not just that they’re taking drugs up here, but then driving afterwards.”

Coun Ford said similar finds were common in laybys and verges on roads towards Red Barn south of Wroughton, near Wroughton Airfield and around Barbury Castle.

The councillors say they understand the police priorities will be focused on town and urban areas, but they feel the police should respond to specific intelligence and tip-offs about law-breaking.

Coun Sumner said: “The local intelligence of councillors and residents should be invaluable to the police but we feel that rural crime and such behaviours in rural areas are not on a list of priorities for our police.

“I have reported concerns directly to senior police officers and it is neither easy nor quick to get a response. Brian and I both appreciate why town centres are a greater focus, but is rural crime less of an issue because it is going unreported?

“We need our police force to get back to working with us to make our communities safer.

But the outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said action was being taken against drug users and sellers: “The recent successes of Op Jetway and Op Samphire was testament to the dedication of our officers and staff in dismantling county lines and drug use, particularly in the Swindon area. This sent a clear message to the wider community that we take their concerns seriously. I appreciate that initially you might think that no action has been taken immediately after you report concerns, but please understand that these operations are complex and take months to plan and gather intelligence.

“More money has been invested in enhancing community policing teams in our neighbourhood areas. This is in addition to the extra 49 police officers we will deliver as part of the governments uplift programme to recruit 20,000 new officers by March 2023.

“The public will now begin to see the reintroduction of dedicated teams within Community Policing Teams. CPT Neighbourhood Teams will be made up of officers and PCSOs responsible for proactive policing, community engagement and working with the community and partners to solve problems. They sit within Community Policing working alongside dedicated CPT response teams who directly respond to crimes and incidents.

“To contact your local Swindon CPT about a community-related matter, such as community meetings or events, then please email . I urge you to report any concerns or crime to 101 or 999 in an emergency”.

A new PCC will be elected in May, so far three candidates have been announced, Jonathon Seed for the Conservatives, Labour's Junab Ali and Mike Rees, Independent.