KNIFE blades were left jutting out of a soft play area in order to slice and slash unsuspecting toddlers rushing to rides.

Police are investigating after three blades were left sticking out of the ground at Magnolia Park in Rochford.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We received an online report on Tuesday after three blades were discovered by a member of public using a play area in Magnolia Road, Rochford.

“The information reported they were discovered and disposed of on Monday.

“We have informed our partners about the discovery of the blades at this location and we will be carrying out patrols within the vicinity later today.

“We would urge anyone who discovers items such as blades or knives in public places to dispose of them safely at designated amnesty bins.

“If you have concerns after making such discoveries, please call us on 101.”

The parent that discovered the blades, reporting on social media, stated: “Magnolia Park today, three knife blades were sticking out of the groove in the floor that is near the roundabout.

“They have been binned but just a warning to check before your little ones go on.”

News of the apparently deliberate act which could only hurt young children has been met with anger.

Councillors and families have hit out at the mindless yobs who did this.

Lesley Butcher, Tory councillor for Hawkwell East said: “I am aware of this.

“I think it is awful that it has happened there.

“It is a very well used park and I take my grandchildren there to play from time to time.

“It is horrendous that this has been done here and I think it is beyond belief.

“It could have been very serious for a child or parent.

“I am not aware of any other incidents like this at the park.

“The community is well aware of this.”

Mike Webb, fellow Tory councillor for Hawkwell East also said he takes his children there.

He said parents are now being extra vigilant.

He said: “Obviously as a parent I find this disgusting.

“People should know this is not funny.

“We will be standing strong against this and we will be taking it very seriously.

“I don’t know if this is someone messing about or being malicious.

“I have been checking the equipment fully before my family use it.

“We will be making sure the council’s community safety team are aware of this.

“We will be doing what we can to try and prevent this.”

The park is run by Hawkwell Parish Council and it was contacted for comment.

A Rochford District Council spokesman said: “We have been made aware of comments on social media and are liaising with police.

“We take this extremely seriously.

“We would urge anyone with concerns to report them to the police.”