TEENAGERS in Huddersfield can order guns by text message.
That's the frightening revelation from two Huddersfield men who have launched an education programme about gun and gang culture.
Mohammed Sarfraz and Umair Masood, based at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre, Thornton Lodge, spoke to a range of youngsters in the town to find out if they knew how to acquire weapons.
Mr Sarfraz, 36, said: "We asked them how quickly they could get hold of a gun or a knife.
"They told us two minutes, five minutes, and one said you just have to send a text message.
"The longest anyone said was 24 hours.
"There's a network out there and it's just a case of knowing certain people."
Mr Masood, 27, added: "This isn't just an issue affecting inner cities like Leeds and Bradford.
"Huddersfield is not exempt from gang problems."
The revelation comes just two days after 12-year-old Kamilah Peniston was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head at her family home in Gorton, Manchester.
Mr Sarfraz and Mr Masood, who have worked in social services and youth offending services for several years, have spent £10,000 of their own money producing the Streetwise programme.
Aimed primarily at teenagers, it uses creative activities, group work, one-to-one sessions, competitions and quizzes to cover all aspects of gun and gang culture.
Contributors included death row prisoners in the USA, who wrote poems for the programme.
Reformed gangster Stanley 'Tookie' Williams, who founded the notorious Crips gang in Los Angeles, also gave the project his backing before he was executed in 2005.
Mr Masood said: "Ofsted (the education watchdog) says one in five secondary schools has a gang problem.
"The key is education at an early age and a discussion of real life issues that affect young people, like drugs and guns.
"The message is: If you go down the route of gun crime, you are more likely to end up dead."
Mr Masood and Mr Sarfraz believe Streetwise is the only programme of its kind in the country. Tthey are now seeking money to expand the programme.
Mr Sarfraz said: "We are not saying we have a magic wand, but if we can get one person to change their behaviour, we are on the right track."
A police spokeswoman said serious incidents with firearms rarely involved young people.
She added: "The real issue for us is around the purchase and carrying of imitation firearms and toy guns which people quite rightly perceive to be real.
"No one should put themselves in a position where they are purchasing, carrying or being involved in the use of either real or imitation firearms, irrespective of whether people say they can get hold of them or not."
She said parents should educate their children about the dangers of gun crime and said the police worked closely with schools on the issue.
"There are real dangers where people believe they are getting involved in innocent practices which can ultimately have catastrophic consequences," she added.
For more information about Streetwise, visit www.streetwiseinfo.co.uk or call 01484 314815.