PEOPLE on a Darlington estate have been reassured that a specialist police unit will be deployed to help them tackle the problem of anti-social youths.

People in Lascelles Park were confused after being told that the new unit would monitor the estate and then that it might not.

They said part of the estate was plagued by youths who threw things at people's windows and verbally abused people in the street.

At a residents' association meeting, PC Neil Walton, of Darlington police, said there were three main groups of youths whose names kept coming up.

"They have all been spoken to, but it does not always do any good," he said.

When asked if the unit was coming to the estate, PC Walton said: "It is undecided."

Another resident said police had promised to send the unit, which was set up earlier this year to reduce anti-social behaviour rates in the town.

"There were no ifs or buts," she said.

"They told us they were coming here. It is all up in the air at the moment," said PC Walton.

"If there is a place worse than here, that is where they should be going."

An officer from the unit told The Northern Echo that it would definitely be going to the estate in about five weeks' time.

PC Eleanor Jones said: "I think there was confusion because a date wasn't decided.

"It is going there. We will stay on the estate as long as we feel it is necessary. We have three years of anti-social behaviour unit funding, so it is a long piece of string."

The unit, funded with Government money, sends plain- clothed police to troublespots to talk to youngsters. It has spent time in Skerne Park, where the number of complaints has fallen.

John Davidson, chairman of the estate's regeneration partnership board, said: "I think half the trouble on this estate is that there is nothing for the youngsters to do and nowhere for them to go. People will welcome the unit with open arms."