FORTY police officers made their presence felt in a showdown with vandals last night.

Community Police teams, the district support unit from Cleveland Police and officers on horses targeted shopping precincts and nearby shops at Marton, Coulby Newham and Acklam to crack down on anti-social behaviour by teenagers.

The officers will be back on the streets again tonight in a campaign against young troublemakers.

Inspector Gary Gamesby, the head of Operation Co-operative said the time had come for irresponsible parents "to stand up and be counted".

He said: "We just cannot tolerate this behaviour, it is just not civilised.''

Off licences are also going to be urged by police not to sell alcohol to 18-year-olds who they suspect will pass the drink round under-age youngsters.

Groups of up to 30 drink-fuelled youngsters, aged from 12 to 18, have been reported congregating around shops.

Last weekend, a gang of youngsters smashed windows, threw stones at houses, and demolished a pensioner's fence, at Marton.

Insp Gamesby said: "Parents should know where their children are. Once their children are out of sight they abrogate their responsibility, but they cannot do that.

"Even with their children out of sight, parents still have a responsibility.

"They can help the police by making sure they know where their children are and that they are not hanging around causing trouble on a night.

"Their children do cause damage. They may say it cannot be their Little Johnny - but it is. They have to stand up and be counted and put right what has been done.

"I was saddened by the damage and clear anti-social behaviour displayed by youngsters last Friday, particularly in the Marton area.

"Parents will know if their child was involved and yet no one has been round to see the pensioner, to put it right."

It was essential to nip the trouble in the bud before it was grew any worse.

Insp Gamesby said: "With the cooperation of officers from the community policing team we will be putting out a firm police presence throughout the district this weekend, to stop it happening again.