A NEIGHBOURHOOD plagued by gangs of teenagers acting anti-socially has joined together in a pledge to tackle the growing problem.

Mowden's ward surgery last night saw a big turnout from residents who have been affected by gangs of youths in the area.

In recent weeks, it has been reported that groups of teenagers, thought to be aged between 12 and 14, have been throwing objects at people, walking in front of cars to slow them down, taking part in underage drinking and other anti-social behaviours.

Residents also spoke of being personally targeted by the teenagers after trying to confront them.

One resident said: "Not so long ago they tried to set the swings alight.

"I went out myself with a bucket of water to put out the fire and, because of that, they ran over the top of my car, egged my house, and even put dog muck through my letter box."

Updates of the anti-social activity was published on a community Facebook group for the area, which then saw some of the teenagers reportedly using false accounts to 'tag' each other and access the posts.

Yesterday morning, Darlington Police said they had identified 'a number of youths' involved who will receive a home visit for officers to address the issue with those in question and their parents.

Inspector Chris Knox, the Neighbourhood Inspector for the Darlington area, attended last night's meeting with other police officers, councillors of the Mowden and Hummersknott wards, and Graham Hall, Darlington Borough Council's Head of Community Safety.

Insp Knox said: "There’s always been concerns of anti-social behaviour in this area but, recently, there has been an increasing number of reports.

"Over last weekend we identified a number youths and parents to speak to regarding this behaviour, and I think some parents are going to get a shock when we come knocking at their door.

"While we have a massive part to play in resolving this issue, parents also have a massive part to play.

"There is some responsibility for the parents in Mowden and other parts of Darlington. Where are your children going? And what are they getting up to?

"We are going to do what we can to get this sorted."

Mr Hall added: "We have the combined powers of the police and civil forces and we are working closely with fire services, schools and parents to identify what is causing them to behave in this way.

"We have everything in our power to deal with anybody who acts irresponsibly whether from a small error of judgement to anyone who has real intentions of harming another person on the street."

At the conclusion of the meeting, residents and PCSO's agreed to set up an official group on the mobile app, WhatsApp, where information about activity or identities of those involved can quickly be investigated.