POLICE have stepped up patrols in a Ribble Valley town to tackle a spike in youth disorder.

Officers hope their visible presence will deter anti-social behaviour in Whalley.

Their action has been welcome by local Ribble Valley councillors Ged Mirfin and Mark Hindle

The force brought its mobile police station to The Sands outside Whalley Abbey as the first step in their crackdown.

The move follows reports of youths gathering in large numbers, drinking, smoking, taking drugs and frightening older residents of the town.

Sergeant Kevin Day, of the Ribble Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of reported anti-social behaviour in the area. We have met with key partners and members of the public to discuss the issue and listen to people’s concerns.

“We will continue to have regular patrols around the areas of Whalley highlighted as having this issue. We look forward to finding a solution to this problem.”

Whalley and Painter Wood’s Cllr Mirfin said: “It is only when the sanctions of the law are brought to bear that there is likely to be an impact on long-term persistent anti-social behaviour taking place in the town.

“I was really pleased that Sgt Stuart Banks and PCSO Samantha Bardon attended the recent meeting of Whalley Parish Council to meet with members of the general public who raised concerns about the recent escalation in anti-social behaviour which has taken place in and around the The Sands, Whalley Weir, the public toilets in the centre of the town and Whalley Abbey.

“The fact that Ribble Valley Police turned up at The Sands outside Whalley Abbey with their mobile police station provided vital reassurance for local residents particularly the elderly who have been terrorised by large gangs of youths gathering, drinking, smoking and taking drugs.

“Hopefully the increased and more visible police presence will help crack down on this problem.

Cllr Hindle said: “I am pleased to see the focus of the local police to address drug taking and low-level intimidation by local youths on the Abbey grounds. Local people should be able to live their lives without fear of abuse.”