YOUTHS have been warned to stay away from a play area on a village field until refurbishment work is complete.

Equipment on the playground in the centre of Middleton St George is being replaced and contractors are working to make the area safe.

But there is growing concern about groups of youths entering the half-finished play area with skateboards and bikes.

Speaking at the village's parish council meeting, Sergeant Mark Ralphs, of Darlington police, said there would be more patrols of the area to try to dissuade youths from going onto the site.

He said: "While the building is ongoing, it is quite easy to get into the site. If anyone sees someone on the site, they should contact the police immediately."

The chairman of the council, Brian Jones, said he had spoken to the building contractors to try to get them to make the area more secure.

He said: "It is impossible to make the area totally secure, but we do not want the area damaged before we have even got it.

"The tarmac has not been properly laid and it is dangerous for people to be on-site."