AN order to reduce anti-social behaviour, including urinating and defecating in public, consuming alcohol on the streets, bin raiding and spitting on the floor, has officially come into force on Teesside.

On Tuesday, a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) came into force across Middlesbrough's TS1 area as the local authority was officially given "robust new powers" to stamp out "bad behaviour."

The order, which also prohibits people begging, dog fouling and cycling on pavements within much of Middlesbrough's town centre, now means Middlesbrough Council can issue fines up to £1,000 to offenders.

A council spokesperson said fines would be used as a "last resort and set at a level that encourages positive behaviour", but those who refused to pay would be taken through the courts.

They said: "Fines are to be used as a last resort and set at a level that encourages positive behaviour change.

"They will be set at £25 rising to £50 if payment is not received within two weeks while non-payment could result in an appearance at Magistrates' Court and a fine of up to £1,000."

A similar Public Space Protection Order that was launched in Darlington had been described a "great success" as councillors claimed there had been a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

The introduction of the order has since been welcomed by some businesses.

Simon Fletcher, owner of Baker Street kitchen in the town, said: "If it's going to improve the quality of the experience of the high street and get rid of some of anti-social behaviour, which puts people off coming into the town then I think it's a good scheme."