POLICE are setting up a zero tolerance campaign against anti-social behaviour in Baxenden amid fears that gang culture is on the increase.
The village’s neighbourhood policing team has been inundated with complaints from residents who are becoming increasingly worried about the growing numbers of youths gathering on their streets.
Community beat manager PC Clare Wall said: “Gang culture in Baxenden has definitely increased as you can regularly see as many as 20 teenagers gathered together outside shops or on street corners.
“We are not trying to spoil anybody’s fun and we appreciate that young people want to get together and enjoy their free time.
“However, alcohol and anti-social behaviour will not be accepted.”
As part of Operation Summer Nights, which is a Lancashire-wide iniative, police will be out in Baxenden on high-visibility patrols, stopping large groups of youths and moving them on to more suitable places such as the parks and the multi-use games area.
Maz’s Store near Southwood Drive and an area on Hollins Lane are popular gathering spots for teenagers.
Police are also appealing to parents to help them put a stop to the problem.
PC Wall said: “Parents need to help us stamp this out by taking responsibility for the whereabouts of their children.
“We are taking a zero tolerance approach to gang culture, anti- social behaviour and under-age drinking.
“If anyone is caught drinking or acting up, a £50 fixed penalty will be issued and a juvenile referral given, which will see a police youth adviser visiting their parents and their school.
“There could even be the involvement of social services for persistent offenders.
“Residents, councillors and police will not tolerate this behaviour. Young people have been warned.”
Anyone with information regarding teenage gangs in Baxenden can contact the police on 353103.