A GROUP involving police and other organisations has been formed in a bid to tackle increased anti-social behaviour in a playpark and woods in Dunbar.

Reports of underage drinking, vandalism and fires have all been passed on to police after concerns were raised following groups of up to 60 youths gathering in the park at Ashfield and nearby Lochend Woods.

The issue was raised at the town’s community and police partnership (CAPP), which meets again this evening (Thursday).

One member of the public reported there had been youngsters drinking in the playpark and when police arrived the teenagers ran off into the nearby woods.

He added: “I know a 92-year-old woman had her window panned in – it is getting out of control.”

Jimmy Wilson, community warden, said: “Ashfield is high on the priorities and we have been giving that area quite a lot of attention.”

Already, staff at Dunbar Grammar School have been spoken to about the problems.

Mr Wilson added: “[Those responsible] think they can get away with shouting at passers-by because it is dark.

“I have approached them on my own. I reported the fire in the curling pond and spoke to some of the youths. One of the picnic benches was smashed to bits and both have been removed and are not going back.”

Now police will work alongside East Lothian Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the local area partnership and councillors to address the issue through a Problem Solving Partnership (PSP).

Police officers and community wardens will target the affected areas with enhanced high-visibility patrols, including the use of the council’s CCTV van, and will work with local schools in sending out the message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Chief Inspector Steven Duncan, Police Scotland area commander for East Lothian, said: “I would ask parents and guardians to assist us by speaking to their children and warning them on how their behaviour can affect others, and reminding them that such behaviour is not acceptable.”

Kenneth Black, manager of the council’s safer communities team, added: “It should be stressed that it is the behaviour of a minority that is causing concern.

“Actions taken will include alerting parents to the fact that their children have been spoken to by the police in the areas affected.

“The focus of the PSP is on preventing the anti-social behaviour occurring in the first place; however, where appropriate, joint enforcement action will be taken against those who persist in behaving in an anti-social fashion.”

Report anti-social behaviour to the police on 101 or the council’s anti-social behaviour helpline on 01875 824307.