A STEAM-POWERED cleaning machine is being used to tackle chewing gum stains and graffiti in Stockton High Street.

The machine has been used between 6pm and 10pm every night this week.

Simon Dale, head of direct services for Stockton Borough Council, said: "Residents, town centre businesses and councillors have for some time been asking us to do something about chewing gum stains on our streets and this machine is designed to tackle exactly that.

"Having acquired the machine last year and seen its effectiveness in a number of areas we decided it was an essential piece of equipment for our teams.

"We will initially be using it to clean up Stockton High Street before continuing to clean in other parts of the borough as part of our ongoing Care For Your Area campaign to clean up the streets."

Geraint Williams, Stockton's town centre manager, said: "I am delighted this machine is at our disposal to tackle the blight of chewing gum stains and graffiti in our town centres.

"Visitors to Stockton have all too often commented on the chewing gum stains on our pavements and we will now be able to do something effective about this."