THREE new community safety officers are patrolling some of Nelson's most deprived areas, to try and improve the neighbourhood and reduce crime.

Sandra Hargreaves, Angela Hammonds and Benjamin Peverley will join Elizabeth Kayley and supervisor Tony Kitchen as support officers and will cover the wards of Southfield, Marsden and Bradley.

The community safety officers will work shifts, including weekends and evenings and aim to give reassurance to the public.

Their role will be to provide an out-of-hours service for people to contact Pendle Council, provide a basic mediation service between neighbours, identify and monitor and report levels of anti-social behaviour and harassment.

They will also help in environmental improvements, including ensuring rubbish is collected, reducing vandalism, helping to reduce crime, attending neighbourhood and customer panels and working in partnership with Lancashire Youth and Community Service.

Councillor Azhar Ali, leader of Pendle Council, said: "Through the council's Citizens' Panel it has been identified that there is a fear of crime and crime damage in various areas of the borough and this is a response to these issues. Community Safety Officers are part of the Government's drive to renew deprived neighbourhoods.

"Since the two existing community safety officers started last August, they have had a positive impact on a range of community safety issues, including anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes, as well as trying to ensure the environment is kept as clean as possible.

"We hope that residents in Marsden, Southfield and Bradley wards will value the work of the officers and see them as an important resource for the community."

Funding has been provided from the Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Fund via the council and its single regeneration budget through Pendle's Local Strategic Partnership.

Coun Ali said: "When funding allows it, we intend to employ additional community safety officers for other parts of the borough."

A police spokesman said: "We will be very supportive of the new posts and look forward to working with them. We have had a very good working relationship with the wardens in Burnley and hope for similar success in Pendle."