POLICE are tackling anti-social behaviour in an operation targeting a town’s problem areas.

Spennymoor Neighbourhood Policing team flooded the town as part of an operation in response to reports of youths misbehaving and consuming alcohol.

Police community support officer Sam Stephenson said: “It’s really useful to be able to work with the kids in this way because you become a part of the community. I’ve seen some of these children grow up in the town.

“I’ve learnt over the years, you’ve got to be able to listen to the kids because it’s a huge thing just to be heard.

“I think sometimes if a child has things going on, by unloading it can sometimes help take the burden off.”

Officers took part in the Stay Safe operation and found several youths under the influence of alcohol, in the town’s woodland and other anti-social behaviour hotspots.

They also found a number of children drinking at a Halloween house party in the Spennymoor area. Drinks were confiscated including a can of Strongbow dark fruits. Several children were breathalysed at the house and the children’s parents were informed about the underage drinking.

Some youngsters had also started fires in the woods to keep warm in the cold weather. The police are launching a programme to inform youngsters of the dangers of fire.

The team patrolled on foot and in vehicles and took the children to a place of safety to receive help and support.

Children’s charities and partner agencies were there to talk to the youngsters and help them deal with underlying issues. They were also on hand to support the families and address why the youths were misbehaving.

Police then later informed the children’s parents and they were taken home.

The officers said the low number of children found taking part in anti-social behaviour and drinking showed the positive work the team had done in the past.

The town was previously troubled by anti-social behaviour after a number of complaints about youths causing trouble.

In 2017, police received reports about rowdy teenagers causing a nuisance to businesses and visitors in the town, with incidents ranging from throwing eggs and shouting abuse, to underage drinking.

Anyone who witnesses anti-social behaviour can call non-emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Residents can also express their concerns about anti-social behaviour at the next Spennymoor Town PACT meeting tonight. The meeting will be held at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, High St, Spennymoor, Durham, DL16 6DB at 6.30pm.