A unit set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in Hartlepool has been hailed a success after dealing with more than 200 cases in its first year.

The Hartlepool Anti-Social Behaviour Unit was launched by Hartlepool Borough Council in November 2001 and has since dealt with complaints including graffiti, property damage and unruly youths.

Anti-social behaviour officer Angie Linford, who heads the unit, said: "We have worked closely with a number of other organisations to try to improve the lives of residents forced to put up with the bad behaviour of a minority of individuals."

The unit investigates complaints and gathers evidence in a number of ways, including helping victims to record incidents, carrying out observations and deploying covert closed-circuit television cameras.

As well as tackling anti-social behaviour, the unit is also involved in preventative projects. One involves offering support to families with a history of involvement in anti-social behaviour in the private rented housing sector.

Over the next year, the unit intends to work even closer with community wardens and the community police teams to ensure a co-ordinated approach to anti-social behaviour.

For information about the unit call (01429) 405590.