A foot-long knife has been found by children taking part in a book hunt adventure in a Preston park.
The horrific discovery was made in Moor Park when three young friends were hunting for books as part of the ‘Preston look for a book’ craze.
Mum-of-five Sarah Fraser said her 11-year-old daughter Nikita, her nephew Liam, and a young friend had been visiting the park close to their Deepdale home in the hope of finding books hidden by other children.
But as the children explored around the duck pond, they came across the monster machete staked blade-down in the grass.
“I was so shocked and sad, it’s the last thing you want your kids to find when out playing in the park”, said Sarah.
“My daughter phoned me straight away, telling me what she had found.
“I asked her to send me a picture, so I could understand what we were dealing with.
“When the picture came through, I just couldn’t believe my eyes.
“It was massive. I dread to think of what it could have been used for before the kids found it.
“It’s the last thing you want your children to find on a book hunt in the park.”
Sarah calmly instructed her daughter to put the machete down safely before running straight down to the park.
She said the black machete measured about 12-inches and had a serrated, saw-like blade.
“It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened if a younger child had seen this and tried to play with it,” she said.
“The blade was hideous, it looked like it could slice straight through someone’s hand.
“Thankfully my daughter is a sensible girl and she did the right thing by ringing me straight away to tell me what she had found.”
Sarah said she handed the knife into Preston Police Station in Lawson Street, after calling ahead to avoid startling officers at the front desk.
She said: “I didn’t just want to wander into the police station wielding this monster machete. So I called ahead and reported it. I couldn’t just leave it there for others to find and I didn’t know how long it would take for an officer to come out for it.”
Sarah said she hopes the disturbing discovery will not put families off taking part in the ‘look for a book’ adventure in Preston.
“It’s really sad that we had to find the machete in this way. I think the ‘look for a book’ idea is absolutely brilliant and it’s a great way to get kids out into the fresh air.
“My kids are no different. They’re glued to their computers and I was so pleased that they wanted to go out looking for books in the park near our home.
“But it is still very worrying, as a mum, especially after hearing about older kids in gangs around Moor Park and Deepdale lately.”
Concerns about gang culture in Plungington and the wider city have been echoed by councillors, including Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown.
Speaking on behalf of Plungington ward councillors, Coun Brown said: “This is a concerning discovery in Moor Park, which should be a safe place for the people of Preston.
“We support the police in their investigations relating to this and wider recent gang culture in our ward to trust they will implement provisions to lessen similar incidents.”
The Preston City Council leader said the discovery of the machete should not deter families from exploring the park in search of books.
“The ‘look for a book’ activity is a great initiative to get children out of the house during the summer holidays”, he added.
“This is an isolated incident and should not discourage people from taking part.”
In July, police made five arrests after a fight between gangs of 14 and 15-year-old boys on Moor Park, involving a machete. Two of them, one aged 14 and the other 15, were treated at hospital for minor cuts.
The force then put a temporary stop-and-search order in place for the area.
Lancashire Police were approached for comment on the latest knife find, but did not respond by deadline.