Youths have been causing havoc at a derelict factory, sparking a raft of complaints from residents.

Cumbria Police have received several reports of anti-social behaviour at the former Kangol factory site in Cleator.

Teenagers have been trespassing on to the site, damaging fences and playing loud music.

PCSOs are now stepping up their patrols of the area to stop further incidents and catch those who are causing a nuisance.

Joan Hulley, chair of Cleator Moor Town Council, said: “I think it’s a crying shame. I don’t think they realise the danger most of the time. It’s a health and safety issue. The landowner keeps going to fix it. Hopefully the PCSOs will help disperse them.”

Nick Ford, vice-chair of the town council, said: “It’s an ongoing problem. In the town there has been window smashing, I haven’t heard of anything recently, it seems to have gone quiet at the moment. PCSOs have increased the patrols - hopefully wandering round has reduced it.”

Coun Ford said he would like to see youths get involved in community projects in the town.

“I think there’s enough for kids to do in the town if they put themselves out to do it. Maybe we should be encouraging them to do something in the town. If they have got a stake in the town, they might be less likely to bash it to death.”

Cleator Moor is one of two towns in Copeland invited by the Government to bid for up to £25million from the national Towns Fund and a local board has been set up to help steer the bid.

Coun Ford hopes this regeneration scheme will help reduce anti-social behaviour in the future.

He said: “Street lighting is is something they have put forward. Putting extra lighting on the Square - that will help. I think empty buildings are a bit of a magnet for that sort of thing.”

Oliver Dorgan, who represents Cleator Moor South on the the town council, said: “Sadly, this is an ongoing issue the town has been faced with for several years - small scale vandalism. It is completely unacceptable but I’m encouraged that police are looking into the situation.

“However, we should pay tribute to Phoenix Youth Project for the work they do to engage young people and encourage more young people to get involved in the community.”

The Kangol factory has stood empty for over 10 years. It was opened in 1938 and production ceased in 2009. The site is listed as “under offer” with property consultancy firm Walton Goodland and has outline planning permission for an office or business park and a residential development on land next to it.