A CAMPAIGN to encourage youngsters to turn their back on drugs has been hailed a success.

Darlington Boxing and Martial Arts Academy launched the initiative earlier this year, setting up clubbing nights for under-17s in the town.

Events have been staged at the Atomic nightclub and have proved such a hit that the scheme is now supported by the national drug education campaign, Talk to Frank.

Keith Dillon, of Darlington Community Safety Partnership, said: "We have the full support of the council and the police authority and the youngsters have been very well behaved. There is no alcohol or drugs allowed at the event and anyone trying to get in under the influence is refused entry."

Paul Hamilton, owner of the boxing academy, said: "I talk to the youngsters as much as possible about martial arts and boxing and many of them have come along to the academy as a result and are interested in taking up a new sport which is really positive."

The next event is on December 15, from 7pm to 10pm.