Drug crime in Denbighshire has increased by almost a fifth, according to the latest figures.

There were 259 drug related offences in 2019, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

This includes trafficking and dealing substances such as heroin and cocaine, as well as possession crimes.

That figure is up by 17% on the previous year, when 221 incidents were recorded.

Overall, police recorded crime in Denbighshire increased in 2019.

Over the period, 10,730 crimes were recorded, up by 10% on 2018.

That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in Denbighshire, well above the England and Wales average.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Separate figures are also collected from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which asks people about their experiences of crime, and which the ONS says can provide a better picture of some offences.

Joe Traynor, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "Information collected prior to the coronavirus pandemic from the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates a fall of 5% in crime for 2019.

"It is not possible to say whether this would have come to represent a change from the flat trend in recent years, as it is likely that the current lockdown will have an impact on the level of crime in 2020.

“The 2019 data revealed different patterns for specific types of crime, for instance, robbery increased but burglary decreased, while fraud and lower-harm violent offences remained stable."

Possession of weapons offences in Denbighshire rose by 15 to 78 incidents. These include knives, hand guns and even corrosive acid.

There have been no homicides, which are murders or manslaughters. There was one case of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides fell by 8%, to 670.

In Denbighshire, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, slightly decreased by 1%.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said there had been a substantial decrease in certain crimes such as residential burglaries and shoplifting since the coronavirus lockdown was enforced, but recognised there may be an increase in other forms of crime like domestic abuse.

NPCC lead for crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: "While it is highly unlikely that you will be a victim of violent crime, tackling violence continues to be a police priority and the use of tactics such as targeted stop and search has led to an increase in the recording of knife and blade possession offences by 11% during this period.

"We are clearly in a very different place since the coronavirus outbreak however, with provisional data from police forces showing a reduction in crime by around 28% compared to the same period in 2019.

"Our day-to-day service is not being impacted and people should keep reporting crime to us – our teams will work round the clock to keep the public safe and respond to emergencies."

Criminal damage in Denbighshire, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 1,116 incidents in 2018, to 1,207 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could be due to improved police recording.

Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Denbighshire, there were 447 incidents recorded last year, a 2% decrease on the previous year, when 458 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,299 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

The Police Federation of England and Wales was less optimistic about the national picture, citing a 7% increase in knife crime as evidence that a long-term funding deal was needed for police.

John Apter, chair of the PFEW, said: "It is a tragedy that knife crime continues to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, and with fewer officers on patrol it comes as no surprise that street crime such as robbery has increased.

“The fact that some statistics have fallen despite this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of officers across the country.”