AN operation to clean up a town estate has been hailed a success.

Residents and councillors have praised the Sedgefield Community Safety Partnership for its efforts in the four-week operation in the Jubilee area of Shildon.

The action, which took place from January 23 to February 19, clamped down on crime, anti-social behaviour and environmental issues.

Three thousand leaflets were distributed advising residents about the operation and collection times for waste.

Streetscene controller Jimmy Bennett said a staggering 27.4 tons of domestic waste was removed from the estate plus 46 televisions and 27 fridge freezers.

Extra police officers, police community support officers and neighbourhood wardens took to the streets - cutting incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour by 67 per cent.

Offenders were identified, warning letters sent to parents and the anti-social behaviour panel is considering drawing up acceptable behaviour contracts.

Helen Stewart, the borough's anti-social behaviour reduction co-ordinator, said: "All partners involved in the operation were astounded by the support we received from the local community and local comprehensive school.

"We made a commitment at the request of the community to offer resources to clean up the area, make it look more attractive and reduce crime.

"The operation has done this and we will continue to support residents.

"However, all adults need to take responsibility for themselves, their families and their community."

Barbara Fuller, from the Jubilee Fields Centre, on the estate, said residents were delighted with how the area looks and feels since the operation and plan to maintain it.

She said: "The place looks so much cleaner it feels nicer and safer, people are starting to take pride in it again and want it to stay like this all of the time.

"A lot of young people got involved, especially through Sunnydale School, so they saw the impact anti-social behaviour could have on the community and I think they'll take more care it from now on.

"The lack of facilities and activities for over-14s became more apparent so at the moment we are trying to get funding for a youth worker to organise activities and events for older teenagers."