FLYING squads of Specials are winning the war on yobs, a police force has said.

A team of 20 police community support officers is divided between the four Cleveland Police districts, but the force said they could be quickly brought together to concentrate on a problem area.

Sergeant Martin Atwell, who runs one of the units, said: "We go where the problem areas are and blitz those areas for at least a week. The reaction from local residents is very good.

"We are high-profile, out on foot patrols, and available to talk to people on the streets.

"People recognise us immediately and the young troublemakers who can cause so many problems know we mean business. They are now quick to disperse and do not come back.''

Sgt Atwell said the teams, which have the power to confiscate alcohol and tobacco from youngsters, were able to spend time working on housing estates and town centres.

Chief Constable Sean Price and Assistant Chief Constable Derek Bonnard met the anti- social behaviour team yesterday.