A PHARMACIST forced to hire a bouncer to protect his staff has called for young yobs to be taken away from their families and sent to care centres to learn “respect and right from wrong”.

Richard Lyness, the manager of a pharmacy in Stockton plagued by a gang of youths, said the UK was “broken” as he called for more to be done to tackle antisocial behaviour.

He spoke as Stockton North’s MP  met with Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger to discuss concerns relating to the pharmacy and other hotspots of poor behaviour around the area.

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Mr Lyness pays more than £1,000 a month to hire an ex-Royal Marine to protect Pharmacy World, which is based in Redhill Road on the Roseworth estate, which was was built in the 1950s.

He took the unusual step after staff, customers and the pharmacy itself became the targets of a gang of youths, believed to be aged between ten and 15.

In recent months, there has been a litany of incidents that have left staff terrified, with Mr Lyness saying he has spotted youngsters carrying knives and hammers and throwing fireworks at people.

On one occasion, the door of the pharmacy was kicked in, forcing staff to crawl out through broken glass. There has also been incidents of indecent exposure, racist abuse, intimidation, criminal damage and violence.

Mr Lyness is calling for changes to be made in the way the authorities deal with antisocial behaviour and young offenders.

He said: “We’re providing services for the community and it has been dreadful trying to work through this.

“We know who these people are and they keep getting arrested but then they’re back out, given another chance.

“I’d remove them from their families and stick them in a centre so they can be taught right from wrong and a bit of responsibility.

“The problems we are having here are repeated across the country.

“This country is broken, there’s no respect, no standards and no fear of the law, it is disgraceful.”

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham is calling on the authorities to take more action to tackle an “upward trend in antisocial behaviour in the area”.

He said recent incidents include youths damaging cars and property in Newham Grange, “ongoing serious behaviour” around the Portrack Estate and the need for dispersal orders to be put in place around Billingham, Low Grange and the John Whitehead Park.

Mr Cunningham arranged to meet with the police and crime commissioner to ask what steps were being taken to clamp down on perpetrators.

He said: “It’s vital that we get to grips with these type of incidents which are a blight on people’s lives and their communities. 

“National funding cuts have put huge financial pressures on Cleveland Police, resulting in a reduction of staff and resources. 

“There is no doubt that our police officers work extremely hard and are putting measures in place, but it is clear that there is an ongoing problem with antisocial behaviour.”