A SHOP owner felt “frightened and intimidated” when youths turned on her after she asked one of them to pick up his litter.

Clare Metcalfe tapped on the window of her shop in Ferryhill, County Durham, to ask a boy to put his rubbish in a nearby bin.

But instead of picking it off the pavement and disposing of it properly the boy ignored her, before one of his friends rode his bike into her shop window.

When she said she would call the police, a boy and a girl from the group each spat towards her shop.

Miss Metcalfe, who runs Ferry Dec, said: “The one that rode into the window said it was an accident but it clearly wasn’t, then another boy spat.

“I said ‘any more of that and I’ll call the police’ at which point a girl then spat.

“I locked the door and rang 999, when they realised I really was on the phone to the police they dispersed.

“As I was telling the police they’d moved on, one came back and spat on the window again.

“I really was left feeling frightened and intimidated.”

Miss Metcalfe, whose family has had a decorating and hardware supplies business in the town centre for 46 years, said the incident, at about 3pm on Monday, was the latest in a series of antisocial behaviour problems.

She said a group of five to ten youths are often in the town centre, upsetting people and misbehaving.

She said: “There are some absolutely lovely kids here, but a small number cause trouble and intimidate younger children and elderly people especially.

“Other local businesses have had issues, staff have told me about their concerns.

“Over the past four or five years it is an issue that has been raised with the police and a PACT priority a number of times but I think people feel let down by the police, like the system often lets Ferryhill down.

“We’re looking for a strong response from the police to make it feel safer here.”

A spokesperson for Durham police said: “Police are aware of reports of ASB in Ferryhill marketplace and the surrounding areas and are actively working to take positive action against the youths.

“Ferryhill Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to respond to any incidents reported to them but urge parents and carers to make sure they know where their children are at night.

“Officers ask that if anyone in the local area witnesses ASB, has any information, or has CCTV footage that would assist their investigations to contact Ferryhill NPT on 101.”