ATTEMPTS are being made to find a proper area for the growing number of young skateboarders in Bedale.

Some youngsters at present use sites at and around schools in the town, but there have been complaints about others following the craze on the auction mart car park in Bridge Street.

Bedale community education department is now investigating the possibility, in the next financial year, of setting up a properly-organised, dedicated skateboarding area, possibly with a ramp and a soft surrounding area.

Police have already spoken to several youngsters about skateboarding in the auction mart car park where, it is feared, there could be an accident among traffic.

Coun John Weighell, mayor of Bedale, said: "Skateboarding is becoming all the rage again, but they cannot be doing it on the roads and streets."

Mr Graham Claridge, community education organiser at Bedale, said: "There is a lot of skateboarding activity in Bedale and we would like a recognised area for the youngsters to get together and to prevent any nuisance problems for the rest of the population.

"We want to try to get some of the lads together with community education, the town council and the police to see what is available.

"One of the main problems is the question of responsibility and insurance. There are quite a few injuries that can be sustained with skateboarding and that has to be overcome.

"People regard youngsters as riff-raff because they have skateboards, but people of all backgrounds and education are interested in skateboarding.

"Skateboarding has been with us a long time and is not going to go away. It has got to be a solution that the community as a whole is happy with. We have to investigate sites, funding, management and insurance."

Mr Claridge also said he was looking at the possibility of a drop-in cafe for youngsters, probably containing a computer with internet access, if premises could be found in Bedale.

"We would be looking at evening use or weekends. If there is nothing open for youngsters they either stay at home or congregate on the high street. They need somewhere warm and friendly where they can just meet and mix."

Anyone who can help with a skateboarding site or premises for a drop-in cafe should contact Mr Claridge on 01677 422043.