Police have spoken with more than 50 youths and taken home 23 boys, some as young as nine, in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Officers responding to complaints from the community about youth anti-social behaviour in Colne have carried out several evenings of targeted engagement in the last few weeks.

Complaints received included youths throwing stones, eggs and other missiles at taxis, houses and vehicles, including police cars.

After talks with local taxi firms, councillors and following investigations, officers noted that several groups were responsible, some of whom were as young as nine-years-old.

A spokesperson for the police said: "On the first evening, officers spoke to over 30 youths most of whom engaged with the police and were educated regarding the current Covid guidelines at the time.

"However, some fines were also issued.

"Unfortunately, the following evening, there appeared to be other groups of youths who saw fit to run from officers, some shouting abuse before being apprehended, taken home to parents who were then issued with a fixed penalty notice for breaching Covid guidelines.

"Subsequent evenings saw a reduction in large groups of youths being out, although good weather and a change in Covid regulations has resulted in more families using local parks as intended."

Police in Colne have said that as a result, anti-social behaviour-related calls have reduced dramatically, to the point where in the last week they have only received one.

Over the period of the whole operation, police said they had spoken to more than 50 youths; taken home 23, who were mostly boys; and issued 23 fixed penalty notices to parents for breaches of Covid regulations.

The spokesperson added: "Although the operation was initiated to target stone throwing, egg throwing and Covid breaches, word leaked out with the result being that we experienced only one call of egg throwing.

"However, faced with large groups breaking Covid restrictions this is the issue we dealt with.

"We will continue to run this operation and deal robustly with offenders."