There are calls for police to increase patrols on an estate after a man was seen brandishing a gun and a stash of weapons and ammunition was found.

A mother was left feeling "petrified" for her children after seeing the man pull out a gun and hearing shots fired near her home on two occasions last week.

Police were called on Wednesday at approximately 11:15pm following a report of a person being seen with a firearm at Aldriche Way in Highams Park.

Officers and specialist firearms officers attended the scene, where a number dispersed from the scene and no arrests or weapons were found.

According to Ascham Homes mobile caretaker Jason Collmer and Chairman Darren Lupton of the Tenants, Residents and Leaseholders Association (TRLA), police found a stash of knives and bullets while on patrol last Wednesday.

Mr Collmer, 43, said patrols need to be stepped up.

"PCSO Wheeler told me on Wednesday he and his team had found knives and bullets in the grass verges that day. He also told me he is pretty sure there is a gun on the estate.

"Police need to be making more visits and step up their patrols," said Mr Collmer.

Mr Lupton, a father-of-seven and resident of Aldriche Way, has been working with youths on the estate for 17 years. 

He said: "I got four phone calls from residents who heard gun shots on Wednesday evening and again on Saturday.

"The groups of youths are getting bigger and they're congregating at the front of the estate and in stairwells.

"There is no dispersal tactic and there is nothing for these youths to do. The council needs to re-introduce dispersal zones. We had them in 2007, it worked well and then it stopped.

"This is very worrying for the whole community and the police have got to keep on top of it."

Mr Lupton was also told by police about their recent weapons findings and fears crime is worsening. 

He added: "I've noticed it is getting worse and even though the council's gangs programme helped to quieten things down, it’s starting back up on the estate.

"I've not seen any guns or drug dealing but I know this is not a turf war, it is a drugs war.

"People are coming onto this estate and taking away customers and this is going to cause a lot of tension.

"We definitely need to see high-profile police patrolling this estate, not just community officers who often get a lot of abuse and aren't seen as a deterrent."

A police spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that on Tuesday 10 June local safer neighbourhood officers were informed by local residents that young people were believed to be hiding drugs or weapons on the estate.

"The local ward officers responded to these concerns and conducted a 'weapons sweep' which recovered three knives. It was not clear how long the knives had been concealed. No drugs or bullets were found."

"Hale End and Highams Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team do conduct patrols in and around Aldriche Way and are aware and have investigated the issues raised by residents at the location.

"We encourage anyone with information about criminal activity in the area to contact their local ward officers or contact us on 101 or via Crimestoppers in order to remain anonymous. In an emergency please call 999."