A YOUTH club has been temporarily closed after fears of violent clashes between gangs of youths.

The club, at Accrington Road Community Centre in Blackburn, was shut on Monday night on the advice of police after dozens of teenagers descended on the area.

Witnesses said some were carrying sticks and metal bars but no clashes between the two groups were reported.

Police said one youth was carrying a cricket stump and a 16-year-old boy was arrested on a public order offence.

The incident happened as the youth club was about to open, but police advised the manager to close its doors for the evening.

The youth club has remained closed since the incident.

It was believed to have resulted from an ill-tempered football match the previous week on Wednesday, March 16.

One mother, who did not want to be named, said: “Everyone is very worried, and we don’t want our children to go.”

Neighbourhood policing for Blackburn South East Sgt Mark Cruise played down the incident.

He said: “There was a football match at the community centre which got a bit feisty.

"There were some antagonistic youths who are being dealt with by police using the community safety team, looking at acceptable behaviour contracts.

"We were contacted by the community centre saying they were due to hold another football match the next day which may have been feisty again, so we advised them not to open.

"It's location places it between Shadsworth, Whitebirk and Audley and Queens Park.

"Sometimes kids can be quite territorial, but there are no issues down there at the moment.

"In relation to a football match, it is in our interests for the community centre to stay open and entertain youngsters, but if they can't behave can understand why it shut and the children then loose out.”

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