Schoolchildren who have been robbed of their crisps and sweets and forced to clean drugs paraphernalia off play areas have asked for more police patrols.

Pupils at Powers Hall Junior School in Spa Road, Witham, opened up about their concerns to their teachers.

They feel particularly intimidated using the underpass near the school and say there are often older children and young adults hanging around there at home time.

The school, with the support of Greenfields Community Housing and MP Priti Patel, has set up a youth forum of six pupils in a bid to make sure the children’s concerns are addressed.

Headteacher Jane Bass said: “They have quoted how younger adults are drinking, obviously one of the saddest things I think we have heard is they went to a play area [outside of school] and had to clear off drug paraphernalia before they could play on it.

“It was quite revealing and that is why we have set up this group.

“I was quite horrified when I heard some of the stories that the children are having to endure just to get home on some occasions, I think another aspect was they were threatened to give things they had bought like crisps and sweets."