Almost 70 weapons - including knives, baseball bats and knuckle dusters - were seized from pupils as young as seven at West Yorkshire schools in the last three years, according to shocking new figures.

Just six weapons were seized in 2013, 15 in 2014 but by last year the total was 48, according to West Yorkshire Police. The rise could be due to new rules which from September required schools to tell police about weapons found.

The Force, which released the figures under Freedom of Information legislation, said officers were working with schools to tackle the problems.

Weapons were seized at several Kirklees schools, including Thornhill Community Academy (three seizures), Honley High School and Sixth Form Centre (two seizures), Almondbury High School (two seizures) and one incident each at Newsome Junior School, Holmfirth High, Rastrick High School, Salendine Nook High, All Saint’s Catholic College and Westborough High School.

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The youngest pupil caught carrying a weapon was seven. There were also pupils aged nine and 10 and all ages up to 17.

The figures have been branded “worrying” by Councillor Cahal Burke, spokesman for education for the Liberal Democrats on Kirklees Council.

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Councillor Burke, who also sits on an education scrutiny panel, said he would be pushing for the topic to be considered by the scrutiny committee.

“From my profile as a Lindley councillor I have come across people who have highlighted these concerns in the past.

“It’s not out of control but it is worrying that young people find the need to have to equip themselves with weapons - whether out of fear, or due to gangs.”

Clr Cahal Burke

Clr Burke said the figures should be treated with caution as some of the weapons may not have been carried with any intention.

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A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said officers were working with schools to tackle incidents and help prevent pupils becoming involved in crime.

The spokesman said ‘test purchase’ operations were carried out regularly by undercover teenagers trying to buy knives.

Earlier this year the Force held a weapons surrender where 150 bladed and offensive weapons and 80 guns were handed in.

A spokesman for Thornhill Community Academy said: “We take the safeguarding of our students and staff extremely seriously and as such ensure all due processes are followed wherever necessary.”

Clr Shabir Pandor, Cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “We work closely with our family of schools and we expect that, when needed, they will take the appropriate course of action in reporting incidents and dealing with them effectively. We support schools in doing so as appropriate.”