NEARLY 50 youngsters were taken to Pontypool police station over the summer because of their anti-social behaviour.

Gwent Police launched a special crackdown, with four operations targeting areas known for high levels of problems around New Inn, Abersychan and Blaenavon.

Members of the Pontypool neighbourhood team, St John Ambulance and the youth service patrolled the areas, with 47 youngsters stopped for things like underage drinking, swearing and reckless driving.

These were all between the ages of 13 and 17, with 22 found either drinking or drunk, 19 acting anti-socially by swearing, shouting or causing a nuisance and six driving anti-socially.

Each of these teenagers appeared before a panel at Pontypool police station that was made up of officers, local residents affected by antisocial behaviour and a 16- year-old youth representative.

With all youngsters firsttime offenders, it was decided to simply keep their details on file.

They will also receive a letter home telling parents that formal action will be taken if they act anti-socially again.

This would include monitoring their behaviour for four months, referrals for help with outside agencies or giving them a behaviour contract such as an anti-social behaviour order as a last resort.

The underage drinkers also had to attend an alcohol workshop at The Neon, Blaenavon.

Volunteer development worker Dee Ball helped run the workshops and said they allowed one-on-one sessions with the youngsters, educating them about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

It was the first operation of its kind in the area and community support officer Pauline Lohfink said it has led to a marked decrease in the number of youngsters drunk or with alcohol in the area.

She said it will be followed up by campaigns to target anti-social behaviour around historically busy times such as Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night, while regular night patrols will continue in the problem areas.