Safety chiefs are launching a crackdown on "unacceptable behaviour" in Hartlepool town centre after reports of illegal drug-taking, spitting and people being verbally abusive.
Community safety officials say they are simply not prepared to tolerate unruly and unacceptable behaviour in and around Hartlepool town centre.
And they have pledged to step up their clampdown on offenders – known as Operation Shrewsbury- by using the full force of the law.
The warning from the multi-agency Hartlepool Community Safety Team is directed at a group of adults identified as causing problems around the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and wider town centre area.
Nicholas Stone, Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood safety team leader, said the unruly behaviour is often fuelled by alcohol and illegal drug misuse, with law-abiding residents and businesses suffering the consequences.
He added: “Complaints have been received about disorderly behaviour that involves people taking illegal drugs in public, spitting at members of the public, setting fires, being verbally abusive and issuing threats.
“In response the Hartlepool Community Safety Team has over the last six months issued a total of 20 Community Protection Warnings, followed by 10 Community Protection Notices and two £100 Fixed Penalty Notices.
"The team is also pursuing legal action against two people due to their persistent anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
“Residents and businesses can be assured that the behaviour of this group of people will not be tolerated and that Hartlepool Community Safety Team will continue to take action under Operation Shrewsbury to address their actions.”
Anyone wishing to report anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood can contact the Hartlepool Community Safety Team on (01429) 523100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, they can call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The team can also be contacted to access a Victims Service which offers victim support along with practical advice and assistance on crime prevention.