THE anti-social behaviour that has been plaguing a west Cumbrian town was the subject of a high level police visit.

Cleator Moor has, in recent weeks, seen police issue dispersal orders after youths loitered, kicked doors, set off fireworks and threw food at passing cars.

The relentlessness of the behaviour prompted police to plead with parents to ensure they know where their children are at night, and even led one councillor to express fear that the continued behaviour may jeopardise future funding in the town.

Cumbria's deputy police, fire and crime commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, and Cleator Moor’s community beat officer (CBO), PC Sarah Pickering-Smith, have now met up to visit areas where anti-social behaviour and other 'low-level' crimes have taken place.

PC Pickering-Smith took on the role of CBO for the area in summer 2022, where she works with the community to combat local crime concerns including anti-social behaviour and parking issues around the local schools.

During their patrol, they visited Cleator Moor Square and Jacktrees Playpark where large groups of youths had been loitering, throwing food at vehicles and knocking on doors and running away.

PC Pickering-Smith said she had identified key offenders, offering them 'acceptable behaviour contracts' (ABCs).

The ABC is a voluntary agreement between a young person, local authorities and police, to avoid anti-social behaviour.

Whitehaven News: The group visited areas of Cleator MoorThe group visited areas of Cleator Moor (Image: Police)

Several of the young people were referred to Youth Offending and officers implemented dispersal orders at crucial disruption times.

High visibility foot patrols and stop-searches for illegal fireworks were also engaged, police said.

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In her role, PC Pickering-Smith has also visited local schools and youth groups to discuss anti-social behaviour, and worked with local partners to repair public lighting systems.

One tool against loitering youth is 'The Mosquito', a device emitting a high frequency sound, unnoticed by older members of the public.

Speaking on the visit, DPFCC Mike Johnson, said: “Having dedicated officers deployed from local areas, can only be a good thing.

"Most of us will not be a victim of a serious crime but many of us will see or feel intimidated by anti-social behaviour.

"Becoming a victim of anti-social behaviour can be an extremely distressing and upsetting experience.

Whitehaven News: 6 DPFCC Mike Johnson CBO PC Sarah Pickering-Smith and PCSO Hollie Huck6 DPFCC Mike Johnson CBO PC Sarah Pickering-Smith and PCSO Hollie Huck (Image: Police)

"If left unchecked, it can ruin people's lives and devastate communities which is why I am determined to see police and partners working together to combat anti-social behaviour before it can develop."

Whitehaven Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector, Richard Smillie added: “We have seen success in the introduction of the community beat officer not just in our area but across Cumbria."