PARENTS can help fight knife crime by checking their children's rooms for weapons and drugs, Wiltshire police has said.

The force is running Operation Sceptre this week to put a stop to drug-related violence - especially the increase in young people carrying knives.

The warning comes after a 16-year-old was found with CS gas and a hammer on Cavendish Square and an 11-year-old found carrying a knife in the town centre on Friday.

As part of the crack-down a house on Raleigh Avenue was raided on Tuesday morning, thought to be used as a base for drug dealers, where a 22-year-old man from London was arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs.

Sgt David Tippetts from Wiltshire Police told the Adver: "Teenagers we've had but I cant recall anyone as young as eleven being found with a bladed article before.

"Operation Sceptre is really about sending that message out to parents to check their children's bags, check their rooms, ask them pertinent questions, look out for the smell of cannabis, and be inquisitive.

"We are not looking to criminalise children, we want to keep them out of the criminal justice system, and get positive interventions in place.

"Children don't feel safe because the perception is that other children are carrying weapons.

"By carrying a knife they are putting themselves at serious harm and they are more likely to be a victim of violent crime."

Police work with partners in drug referral units and youth workers to help steer young people away from the drug trade, which is often in the hands of violent gangs who can prey on younger children.

He added: "That's who we want to protect and whose behaviour we want to change, and it's what is most pertinent at the moment so that's what we are focusing on."

Assistant chief constable Gavin Williams added to the calls for parents to take greater responsibility to report weapons or suspicious behaviour to police.

He said: "know what’s in your knife drawer, and have a conversation with your child about the very serious consequences of carrying a knife.

"You may think these actions are a little extreme and don’t apply to you and your family.

" However if we are going to tackle knife crime, it is an approach we all need to take.

"Criminalising young people is never something we want to do but if your child sets off to school this morning with a knife in their bag, they are at risk."