CRIME and disorder in a north-west Durham village have fallen, thanks to a scheme which gives young people somewhere to go.

The finishing touches have been put to a £25,000 youth shelter project near Medomsley and District Community Centre in the Denes, Medomsley, near Consett.

It followed a residents' meeting with police and community workers over the problem of youth nuisance.

Susan Butler, of the Youth Offending Team, worked with youngsters to find out what they wanted, then set about finding cash from grants, including funds from both Communities Against Drugs and Safer Communities.

Derwentside District Council donated the land and took away more than 40 tonnes of waste materials from the site.

Ms Butler said: "It has been very successful. There were issues down there with young people hanging around on street corners, There wasn't anywhere for them to go.

"The young people have adopted the land, through the local community association.

"Now they use it all the time and hopefully, with the tarmac down, it will still be popular in the winter months."

The open shelter includes a kickboard for football, a basketball net, and street lighting.

It opened several months ago and workers have now finished laying a hard surface around the shelter.

Chrissy Combes, who runs the community centre, said: "When the drop-in centre is closed, the kids have got nothing. A youth shelter is always open.

"Now there is a hard surface, the little ones can take their bikes down there and use it as much as the older kids."

The beat officer at the time, PC Chris Davis, arranged for Newcastle firm Kelly's Plant Hire to send a JCB to clear the site for free.

He feels the shelter is already having a beneficial effect on the lives of residents.

PC Davis said: "Last year, we were getting constant calls about youth nuisance. Having the shelter is making a big difference in cutting down the number of complaints."

Plans are already under way to build a similar structure behind the Tesco store in nearby Delves Lane, which should be ready by July.