YOUTHS have been gathering in groups in a town centre despite Covid-19 guidelines.

There has been an increase in anti-social behaviour in Shildon, County Durham, which has escalated further since the national lockdown began on January 5.

Youngsters have reportedly been ignoring the restrictions and are gathering in larger groups and throwing mud and stones at vehicles.

A Durham police spokesperson said: “These are difficult times for everyone but we need parents to take responsibility for their children.

“If they leave the house, parents should know where they are going and who with.

“Remember, your children should only be leaving home for exercise locally and not with groups of friends.

“There will be increased patrols in Shildon, we will be linking in with partners in the anti-social behaviour team at Durham County Council and referrals will be made through social services where we feel that children are at risk.

“We will not hesitate in taking robust action to tackle this issue in order to stop this kind of behaviour.”