A dispersal order has been issued by Cleveland Police for an area of central Hartlepool after a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime this week.

The order gives the police the power to disperse large groups of youths from the area for a period of 48 hours. Anyone who does not comply or returns to the area within 48 hours can be arrested.

Officers have also invoked legislation which allows them to search people and vehicles for items such as weapons without further grounds.

The area included in the dispersal order covers the A179 towards the Marina and Maritime Avenue, across to Victoria Terrace surrounded by the A178 and A689. This is known locally as the Fayre Ground at the Marina, close to the town, rail station, Vue Cinema, Mecca Bingo and McDonalds, KFC and other retail and food outlets.

Inspector Matt Reeves said: “We have seen incidents of antisocial behaviour and serious violence in the town this week. We are committed to ensuring that Hartlepool is a safe place to live and work and any antisocial behaviour or criminal activity will not be tolerated.

“We want to reassure people that we are taking decisive action to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime across the town, including the introduction of the extended search powers, the dispersal orders and additional officers to increase the police presence in Hartlepool.”

There has been two stabbings in the town in last week, while a number of fast food restaurants in the wider Marina area were forced to close last Sunday night because of anti-social behaviour.

A teenage boy was stabbed at the Sports Domes in Seaton Carew after a fight broke out during a game of football, while on Wednesday, police and ambulance staff were called to the car park at the town’s Transport Hub, adjacent to the train station on Church Street.

A 17-year-old boy was taken to the James Cook University Hospital for treatment, and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of wounding.