A mum whose teenage son found a large knife in a Stevenage street says she is disgusted that the police's response, "in an area so rife with knife crime", was to "put it in a bin".

The mum, who lives at The Hyde but asked not to be named, said her son had been riding home from The Pear Tree pub on Valley Way when he "saw a big silver kitchen knife in the bushes on the corner of Oxleys Road".

She said: "I called 999 and was told it's not an emergency, so to ring 101 and report it. I told the operator we have had machete fights at The Hyde shops, stabbings in the Co-op at The Hyde etcetera. She still said it's not an emergency.

"We called 101, who said there is nothing they will do unless its been used, so could we please go to the bush and, if the knife is clean, pick it up carefully and put it in a bin, but if it's got blood on it, to call back and they will sort it themselves.

"I am absolutely disgusted that, in an area so rife with knife crime, me and my 18-year-old son had to go and pick this knife up and put it in a bin!"

Chief Inspector Steve Alison said: “We are aware of this incident and have reviewed the response given to the lady who found the knife, and any staff training required.

"I would like to reassure the public that the lady did the right thing in the circumstances, by contacting us, and that there is a set procedure in place for recovering found knives. This involves either the finder taking the knife to their nearest police station, if they are able, or an officer collecting the knife from a safe location."

As well as several incidents involving knives at The Hyde this year, 20-year-old Bereket Selomun was found dead in woodland off Stevenage's Brittain Way on July 7, having sustained fatal stab wounds, and 18-year-old Kajetan Migdal was fatally stabbed in Stevenage's Cuttys Lane on his way home from school prom in May.

As part of Hertfordshire police's ongoing work to tackle knife crime in the town, a two-week knife amnesty held this month saw a knife bin placed in the entrance of Stevenage Police Station to allow knives to be surrendered with no questions asked.

A knife amnesty held earlier this year saw 87 bladed weapons surrendered in Stevenage.