VANDALS have struck four times in the last week in a country town plagued by a spate of anti-social behaviour.

Now Ribble Valley borough councillors Mark Hindle and Ged Mirfin want a further crackdown on youth disorder in Whalley.

Last month police stepped patrols in the town after reports of youths gathering in large numbers in the centre drinking, smoking, taking drugs and frightening older residents.

Now vandals have smashed up a passenger shelter and ticket machine on Whalley railway station, snapped several oak saplings recently planted in the Forest Garden located behind the bowling club and broken chairs stolen from the cricket club

It is estimated that the cost of the damage is more than £5,000.

Cllr Mirfin said: “What is required is visits to schools as well as a raft of other zero tolerance measures to combat a rising tide of anti-social behaviour in Whalley.

"The town is on a high state of alert. Elderly residents are living in a state of constant fear, literally wondering where the next incident is going to take place. This represents a very serious escalation in anti-social behaviour and requires a very serious escalation in response by the authorities. We need to take long-term action, rather than just reacting when problems arise."

His Whalley and Painter Wood colleague Cllr Hindle said: “This kind of vandalism and anti-social behaviour is both unacceptable and is intimidating and worrying a large number of residents. I would encourage parents to start conversations with their children."

Last month Sergeant Kevin Day of the Ribble Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said he was aware of the problem and patrols had been stepped up.

A police spokesman said yesterday: "This is a priority for the area."