ANGRY members of the Asian community are to begin vigilante-style patrols to drive prostitutes from the streets.

Although organisers insist they are not vigilantes, they will carry out regular shifts to move prostitutes on and discourage kerb crawlers.

Two Middlesbrough prostitutes have been murdered in recent months. Now, around 15 businesses in the Southfield Road area of the town are expected to close for half-an-hour as traders join residents in a march on the police station and town hall tomorrow.

Worshippers say they are propositioned by vice girls outside the local mosque, while community members claim that a working girl tried to persuade a 14-year-old schoolgirl into a life of prostitution.

The patrols, which will have T-shirts printed with the logo No Prostitution, will be peace-keepers, not vigilantes, insist the organisers.

Abid Hussain, their spokesman, said yesterday: "The patrols will work shifts and would just walk up and down.

"If anybody stops in a car to pick up a prostitute, we will take his registration number and pass it on to the police.

"We are not vigilantes, but are just being citizens. Like a Neighbourhood Watch, we are just keeping a watch on our neighbourhood."

While the principal organisers are members of the mosque committee, Mr Hussain appealed to other residents to join the peaceful protest.

"This affects not just the Asians, but everyone who lives in the community," he said.

"There have been two prostitutes murdered and we don't want prostitutes bringing killers on to our streets. We don't want the prostitutes, the pimps and the drug dealers, and associated problems in our community.

"We have constantly asked the council and the police, as law-abiding citizens, to do something, but they have done nothing whatsoever," he claimed.

Aware of the disquiet, Cleveland Police have stepped up their anti-vice campaign.

A spokeswoman said: "Police are aware of a peaceful protest on Wednesday afternoon, with petitions being handed in at the town hall. Police officers were out in the community at the weekend stepping up action against prostitutes. A number of arrests were made.

"The situation continues to be monitored and the police are continuing to talk to residents.