A YOUTH gang was found with an £12 axe from discount store Wilko, home-made knife and cannabis.

Police stopped the dozen-strong gang, whose members ranged from 12-years-old to 18, in Broadgreen on Thursday afternoon as part of a major operation to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.

When they were searched, one gang member was found to be carrying a home-made knife and two others had cannabis bags. Two stolen bikes were seized from the group.

During a search of the area around the Broadgreen play area, officers found an axe hidden underneath a planter.

Sgt David Tippetts said: "We've had reports of anti-social behaviour taking place in the play park in Broadgreen and local people were getting fed up with it. This operation is the start of giving the park back to local people. It’s a park for their community.

"Everyone involved was a child. Not one was above the age of 18 and the youngest was 12.

"The items found on some of these youths is shocking and it begs the question of parents, ‘Do you know where your children are, what they're doing and who they're mixing with?'

"Our officers spoke to the parents in an effort to try and make sure their children are safe and that they're checking what they are doing in future.”

"I hope yesterday's operation sends a message to anyone wishing to carry out anti-social behaviour in Swindon, often affecting the lives of decent, innocent people, it won't be tolerated."

A 17-year-old boy, who was abusive to officers, was arrested on suspicion of public order offences and given a police caution. Two other members of the gang are due to be interviewed in relation to possession of cannabis and the knife.