Police have teamed up with a former gang leader as part of a pilot scheme to tackle knife crime in Bury.

The scheme, which has already launched in other areas of Greater Manchester, will see officers work with a range of organisations to find out the best way of steering youngsters away from violence.

And the work in Bury, beginning this week, will be helped by former gang leader Matthew Norford.

He was serving a prison sentence in 2011 when he learnt his brother had been killed during a botched armed robbery.

He was also shot in the leg by a machine gun when he was carrying a gun, with part of the bullet still remaining inside him.

But since setting up organisation 1 Message in 2016 he has been sharing his story with youngsters to try and steer them on a better path.

He attended the launch of the second phase of Greater Manchester’s anti-knife crime campaign on Tuesday, and is confident he can get results in Bury.

Matthew said: “I say to people two per cent of criminals are smart enough to get a clean break, I ask them if they want to roll that dice.

“I was in prison with 700 other prisoners, some were in for murder, of course I was scared.

“I cried on my first night in prison.

“In places like Oldham and Bury a lot of the gangs are based on race, if I hear someone say they don’t like someone because they are black I will say ‘well you like rap and drill music, so you want to take their culture, a black person could be a friend to you in life.’”

1 Message has already been working in Hazel Wood High School in Bury and at the Spring Lane Pupil Referral Unit on a weekly basis.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said community pilots had served other areas well.

He said: “They have had really good results.

“There has been a really positive reaction from the community.

“It is a different way of working, rather than organisations working alone, we get them together.

“When a young person is referred we find a better way for them, it could be boxing, music or football.”

He said in Moss Side the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has played a key role and Foundation 92 has done the same in Salford.

The message of the latest Greater Manchester campaign against knife crime is that “carrying a knife can destroy a life but speaking out can save a life".

A video campaigning against knife crime and highlighting its dangers was released alongside this.