Booze fuelled trouble-makers who have been causing chaos in Whitehaven town centre have been banned from drinking in public spaces.

Following persistent calls from angry residents and business owners, a new law has come into force to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

It means people will no longer be able to drink alcohol on the streets.

Whitehaven is not the only town to be targeted as the public space protection order has been put in place in several locations across the borough, including Egremont, Cleator Moor and Frizington.

St Nicholas' Gardens has recently been plagued by gangs of drinkers who have been causing uproar with their behaviour and have even been spotted urinating against the church wall.

The problem was so bad that people were afraid to visit the town centre. The introduction of this order has been welcomed by the community.

Gerard Richardson MBE, whose shop looks out on to St Nicholas' Gardens, said he is "delighted" it has been put in place.

He said: "There are six to eight hardcore offenders who don't live by the normal rules of society. This small group of people were destroying the town. They don't belong there and their behaviour doesn't belong there. It's atrocious.

"People have been saying they are frightened to come into town over the last 18 months. It's been awful."

The order came into effect on Thursday and Mr Richardson said it has already made a remarkable difference.

"These last few days have been heaven compared to the last few weeks. The whole atmosphere has been completely different."

Two people were arrested on Lowther Street on Friday and are due to appear in court next month.

Michael Fleming, 43, of Calderwood House, Egremont was charged with being drunk and disorderly in a public place and Korrine Simpson, 45, of Kirklea, Little Broughton was charged with restricting a constable in execution of duty.

Mr Richardson also praised the police for tackling the problem head-on and said there had been a high visibility patrol with officers moving offenders away from the area.

"The police have been fantastic. They were taking so much police time as well.

"We are trying to promote the town centre which is a space for everyone. It's a place we expect to find clean, tidy and safe.

"These clowns were spoiling it for everyone. It's caused a lot of upset. They can't do this anymore. It's not acceptable."

Mr Richardson gave examples of behaviour which he has witnessed from his shop, including a man lying spread-eagled on the pavement sunbathing.

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, has also welcomed the the introduction of the order.

He said: “It is imperative that we as a council do everything we can to discourage this type of behaviour.

“St Nicholas’ Gardens is undergoing a substantial transformation at the moment with thousands of pounds being injected into a project that will revitalise this jewel in the heart of Whitehaven’s crown.

“We are proud to join forces with the police to ensure they have added powers to remove alcohol from anyone causing a nuisance in this area and want to enforce the message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form in our towns.

“It’s a real shame when a minority choose to spoil the area by choosing to act in an anti-social manner and I’d like to thank the police and Copeland Hub for the significant amount of work that has already gone into tackling these individuals.

“I’d like to thank all the officers involved that have worked hard to ensure that the order is put in place.”

It is now against the law to drink alcohol in a number of public areas across Copeland. These are Whitehaven town centre, land at Hensingham and High Road, Kells, as well as several streets in Egremont, Cleator Moor, Frizington, Distington and Millom.