A SPATE of antisocial behaviour in Highworth over the summer holidays will be tackled by a team-up between the council, police and schools in the town.

Assaults and criminal damage during the school break sparked concern from headteachers and neighbours, though councillors were surprised that no drug-related incidents had been reported to police in August.

Coun Lynn Vardy said: "Mopeds go past my house and my granddaughter says 'there’s the drug people Nanny'. Police must be aware of this, surely."

Mayor Julia Bishop said: "People have identified certain places in Highworth where drug dealing does take place. Some of these kids can be quite young.

"There are a few places that could be easily policed, I know where they go and see where they’re working from on a regular basis.

"I worry about elderly residents living alone who could become victims of cuckooing, heaven forbid."

PCSO Tom Fryszka urged people to call 101 to let the police know about non-urgent crimes: "I’m always anticipating the level of antisocial behaviour to go up during the summer holidays but according to the crime stats, what we had was not excessive for Highworth.

"We’re intelligence-led so we’re only as good as the information we receive. Intelligence has dropped in direct correlation to the perceived lack of policing on the streets.

"What I’m concerned about is the level of reports are reducing but the matters may not be."

A new community safety group similar to one formed in Stratton will be set up to help townsfolk pool their knowledge and highlight hotspots that the police should investigate.

Incidents mentioned during the council meeting included 13 criminal damage cases, five antisocial behaviour incidents, an attempted break-in at the community centre (unreported) and a teenager being assaulted.

Highworth Warneford School headteacher Andrew Steele said: “It’s clear that over the summer holidays, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of antisocial behaviour around Highworth.

“One of the main functions of the school is to educate them but also to show them what’s right and wrong, that’s an integral part of what we do.

"Do the parents of the young people involved know where they are when these things are happening? In some cases, I suspect not.

"The council and the police and the school don’t have a single answer to this but all working together, we can improve the situation.”

Coun Julie Murphy said: "One resident is really concerned that parents may try to club together and take the law into their own hands. It would be good to work together to prevent things happening rather than having to deal with them afterwards.”

Coun Ken Saunders said: "There is a variable attitude of response on 101. Some are very good but sometimes when I call about damage they ask 'Who did it?' and I don't know and they say there's nothing they can do.

"I appreciate that you're under pressure but if people hear that when they call, they may think police are not interested."

PCSO Fryszka explained that their response list prompts them to ask callers to carry out house-to-house inquiries.

Mr Saunders replied: "That's not my job, that's what the police is there for. If that's your response then no wonder you're not getting any information."