Hundreds of cases of parents drinking excessively and taking drugs in the south west were reported to the NSPCC last year, according to figures from the charity.

It comes as the NSPCC highlights a major rise in people making such reports, and points struggling adults towards places such as their Swindon Service Centre to receive help.

Last year, the NSPCC helpline saw a 30 per cent increase in calls from people with child safety worries caused by parental substance misuse.

John Cameron, the head of helplines at the NSPCC, said: “Every child should be able to grow up in a home where they feel safe and supported.

“The sad fact is that many young people are being deprived of this simple right due to one or both of their parents abusing drink and drugs.

“It is vitally important for the wellbeing of the whole family that adults who are misusing any substance seek help from effective programmes such as ‘Parents Under Pressure’.

“In doing so they will gain a better understanding of themselves and what they need to do to give their child the best start in life.”

To support families where parental substance misuse is present and causing a problem, the NSPCC delivers 'Parents Under Pressure', a home-based programme originally designed and tested in Australia.

The NSPCC Swindon Service Centre in Little London Court is one of the charity’s UK bases which provide this service.

The NSPCC received 731 referrals for parental substance abuse in the south west in 2016/17.

Nationally, they received 10,207 over the year – nearly 200 a week – a 30 per cent increase on the previous year.

Of those contacts, 8,793, involving more than 15,000 children, were deemed serious enough to be referred to local authorities or police.

The majority of contacts received by the NSPCC helpline about substance misuse were from members of the public worried that a parent is drinking too much alcohol, in turn affecting their ability to provide a safe and supportive environment for their children.

In many of these cases, other concerns such as neglect and physical and emotional abuse against the child, parental domestic abuse and parental mental health issues are also raised.