POLICE in Barnard Castle are being urged to tackle problems of unruly cyclists and littering.

Town councillor John Watson said youngsters were riding around the town at speed after dark and with no lights on their bikes.

He said: “This used to be tackled at school level through the cycling proficiency scheme."

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Coun Watson told this week's Barnard Castle Town Council meeting litter was a particular problem around Teesdale School and The Hub.

Present at the meeting was the town's newly-appointed sergeant, Simon Rogers, who suggested these issues could be made priorities at the forthcoming Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting.

He said: “I was not aware there was a problem with bikes– if there is any specific information, please let us know, or the PACT process is there.

“Littering could also be raised at the PACT meeting.

"It could be made a priority– that's what the PACT process is there for.”

Sgt Rogers, attending his first town council meeting, also outlined current issues in and around Barnard Castle.

“Theft from motor vehicles is one problem. There have been incidents of diesel theft from lorries parked up on the A66 overnight.

“The problem is that this often only comes to light when they are out of the area and further down the country.

"We are looking to do something about that,” he said.

Sgt Rogers said there was a continuing problem with the theft of catalytic converters from Mitsubishi vehicles and Ford Rangers.

He said: “These vehicles have been targeted for their accessibility and how much the thieves can get for a catalytic converter. "From a normal vehicle, it is £30-£40. For these vehicles, it is £100-£150.

“We have quite a few of these type of vehicles parked out. Letters have been sent out to all owners in Teesdale.

“We are trying to address it, but the crimes are so spread out. We are getting one or two a week.”

On other matters, he said a new Speedwatch system, using equipment that flashes up how fast motorists are driving, was being introduced and appealed for volunteers to come forward to help the PCSOs to run the scheme.

He also said consultations were ongoing in a bid to extend the Farmwatch scheme to the Cleveland force area.

* The next Barnard Castle PACT meeting is on Tuesday, December 11, from 7pm to 8pm. It takes place at Woodleigh, Flatts Road, on Scar Top.