SMASHED windows, upturned planters and shoplifting are worrying business owners in Chepstow, town councillors have told police.

New figures show St Mary’s, which covers the town centre, is a crime hotspot.

The ward had the most number of crimes in each of the six categories reported on by Inspector Mark Pope, who faced a barrage of questions when giving councillors an update last week.

From April 1 to June 26, 167 crimes were recorded in the town, a slight fall on the same period last year.

St Mary’s came out as the top place for anti-social behaviour, non-dwelling burglary, other theft, criminal damage, shoplifting and violence with injury.

Insp Pope said some of the incidents could be blamed on Chepstow’s night-time economy.

He said: “We can’t always prevent these incidents.

When people are intoxicated, it’s difficult to control sometimes.”

Mayor Cllr Stephanie Dovey reported there had recently been “mayhem” in the town, when plant tubs were upturned and an estate agent’s window smashed.

Town clerk Sandra Bushell said that a window had been put through at The Gatehouse in February.

She said she had tried to contact the culprit to recoup the cost of the damage, but they had ignored correspondence.

Cllr Yvonne Havard recalled a time at the Citizens Advice Bureau when staff had to wash bloody handprints off the walls after their window was broken.

Cllr Dale Rooke told Insp Pope there was a problem with drinking in the street and suggested that alcohol free zones be implemented.

“If we are getting issues with it and members of the public want it, it’s something we could look at,” said Insp Pope, who added that officers were working hard to tackle shoplifting.

Sergeant Terry Lowman, who also attended the meeting, said the upturned planters issue could be solved by fixing them to the floor.

But Ms Bushell said it was “not cost effective”.