A STASH of weapons has been discovered behind a Hounslow bingo hall, near an area notorious for drug dealing.
Police unearthed two knives in the area behind Gala Bingo, in Staines Road, during a routine search.
Officers from Hounslow Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) also found three metal poles hidden beneath bushes behind the Treaty Centre, in nearby Grove Road.
They believe the weapons were hidden by gangs operating in and around the town centre, so they could arm themselves if necessary. The searches, which took place earlier this year, were carried out as part of Operation Blunt, a London-wide initiative to tackle knife crime.
The finds come just four months after the Chronicle reported how a pair of 'Rambo-style' knives were found by a street sweeper near a robbery hotspot in Hounslow West.
Hounslow sector inspector Huw Evans said more and more gangs across London were hiding weapons around the streets due to the growing use of stop-and-search powers.
"The Met does an awful lot of stop-and-search and therefore there's a growing chance gangsters will be found to have weapons if they're carrying them, which is why more people are hiding them elsewhere," he said. "Every now and again we will do a sweep of an area to pick out any weapons stashed by gangs ready to use in violent crime.
"The back of the Treaty Centre, near the bus stop, is a busy area, and we know sometimes youths will go just off the High Street to get away from the CCTV cameras, which is why those areas were chosen."
He added that the weapons were checked for fingerprints and DNA but are not known to have been used in any crimes around the area.
Drug offences in Hounslow Central sector have fallen by 8.4 per cent in the last year, but violent crime is up 7.1 per cent, according to the latest police statistics.
Officers from Hounslow Central SNT have also been targeting dealers who cycle to the town centre to peddle drugs, as part of a crackdown on cycling in the High Street.