A new youth action group has launched in response to the unprecedented levels of anti-social behaviour seen in an East Lancashire town.

Colne Youth Action Group (CYAG) was launched this week, and aims to give young people in the town a chance to reconnect with the community and turn away from destructive behaviour.

Since the end of the first lockdown, certain groups of youths in Colne have been causing havoc by throwing stones at moving cars, smoking cannabis in public places, or just generally being disruptive.

Colne councillor, Sarah Cockburn-Price, said that while there are great clubs in Colne for young people, who join in activities that interest them such as cricket and swimming or at theatres and music venues, there are very few 'pitch-up-and-give-it-a-go' activities for the vast majority.

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PC Dave Cleal from the neighbourhood policing team said: “This demise of facilities has been reflected in the increase in police logs which relate to anti-social behaviour, the majority of which are created by youths aged in the 10 to 17 age brackets.

"This not only impacts on the resources of police, but more importantly, it impacts massively on the affected communities.”

The charitable incorporated foundation is now in negotiations with Lancashire County Council to lease the former Youth Zone on Byron Road.

Restorative Justice campaigner, Margaret Foxley, said: “These young people need to reconnect with our community and we have founded CYAG to give them physical and mental outlets.

"We want them to turn away from all this anti-social behaviour and engage with us.

"We will help them to understand that actions have consequences, but that there are better things to be doing with their time, anyway.”

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Pendle’s MP, Andrew Stephenson, said recent contact from his constituents had highlighted an anti-social behaviour problem with youths in the area, which he feels may have been exacerbated through boredom and having nowhere to go, and nothing to do.

He commented: “As families within Pendle struggle through employment, financial and wellbeing issues, I think it would greatly benefit the youth of these families in having a safe space outside of the family unit where they may attend to gain additional support, or simply socialise with others.”

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The police are now encouraging people to take a look at the CYAG website and spread the word to youths in the area.

A police spokesperson said: "This is great news for the area and a lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes in the last few months to get this project up and running.

"Let's support it for our youngsters."

For more information visit: orlo.uk/NjaNZ.

Or follow @ColneYAG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.