A dispersal order has been put in place around a popular shopping centre and a host of shops in the North East to help curb anti-social behaviour.

Cleveland Police have announced a dispersal order covering shops in Hartlepool will come into effect from 4pm today (February 3) and will run for 48 hours.

The action has been taken in order to address reports of anti-social behaviour across Marina Way and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

The order will cover York Road, Raby Road, Middleton Road, Marina Way, Hartlepool Marina, Victoria Terrace, Stockton Street and Park Road.

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The Northern Echo:

Inspector Zoe Kelsey of the Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This dispersal order gives us the power to remove individuals and groups causing problems with immediate effect and includes the power of arrest for anyone found to have breached the order.

“We will not tolerate behaviour that makes the lives of the people who live and work in this town a misery and encourage anyone who is encountering problems to report it to police.”

Dispersal orders give police officers powers to break up groups of two or more people where they believe their behaviour is causing a nuisance, harassment or distress.

Cleveland Police have said there will be an increase in high visibility patrols during this time, by officers from Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team.

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In a statement, a Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "Anyone involved in or believed likely to become involved in antisocial behaviour or activity can be directed to leave the area immediately by a Police Officer, PCSO or Special Constable.

"It is a criminal offence to return to the area covered by the order within 48 hours and anyone breaching these orders can be arrested."

Antisocial behaviour can be reported to Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101, online or via the COPA app.