EXTRA police are being drafted into Yarm at weekends to cope with a massive influx of people to the town's pubs and restaurants this summer.

In the wake of a serious assault, there will be twice as many uniformed officers on the beat on Friday and Saturday nights.

Police hope the move will be a deterrent to troublemakers in the entertainment mecca.

Town council chairman Coun Liz Marsden has welcomed the police action.

"Yarm is increasingly becoming the place to be and so there is more risk of unpleasant incidents," she said.

Insp Colin White said: "We have recently seen two more restaurants opening on the High Street and on Friday and Saturday nights hundreds of people now come into Yarm for a night out.

"Recently, there have been a number of minor assaults around the time most of them leave, between 11-11.30, but last weekend a Hartlepool man was seriously hurt after a fight.

"I hope the extra officers will act as both a deterrent to this kind of behaviour and as a reassurance to others who come to the town for an enjoyable night out."

Coun Marsden said: "I am delighted with this move by the police. We are the mecca for people from all over the place.

"Yarm is increasingly becoming the place to be and we get all types of people and so incidents such as the one the other weekend are more likely to happen, with the risk of local people getting involved.

"It is inevitable with the number of restaurants and bars and the attraction of the riverside."

Coun Marsden said the boom in Yarm's popularity was great for the local economy but agreed policing had to be stepped up accordingly.

"We need clearly-visible patrols," she said, "that would be the best deterrent to trouble.

"Success such as this is both good and bad. You have to accept the downside when you get the good. You have to keep a balance and extra patrols will help to do this."

Insp White said two officers were on duty in partnership with the Tall Trees to manage the numbers of young people going to Club M. "I see the extra officers in the town centre as an extension of our commitment to public safety in Yarm," he said.