POLICE have appealed to Ringland residents intimidated by gangs of youths to make contact after an surge in anti-social behaviour incidents.

Last night householders and shopkeepers spoke of their fears living on Ringland Estate and going to the shops with one likening the area to a "war zone".

Rank-and-file officers met members of the public at Ringland Community Centre after police figures showed the number of anti-social behaviour incidents reported in the ward had fallen drastically from 52 in January to just 14 this month.

But members of the public indicated they were tired of reporting incidents as they were not always acted upon and cast doubt on the effectiveness of the police non emergency number 101.

People at the meeting told how they had been intimidated by groups of up to 30 young people congregating at the shopping centre.

They complained of other incidents such as windows being smashed, cars being damaged, bins set on fire and people taking drugs.

Roma McIlroy, of Roma's fruit and veg, told how her shop was broken into three times.

Most people at the meeting did not agree that anti-social behaviour had subsided on the estate.

One speaker, who did not wish to be named, said: "Some people live in a war zone practically.

"They're being targeted all the time."

Police acknowledged that calls were prioritised, with targets to respond to incidents either within a day for non emergencies, an hour for more serious calls and 10 minutes for emergencies.

But they stressed they could not act upon them unless people made contact so they could be recorded.

Ringland PC Ellen Broadley told the meeting: "We need you to phone it in.

"We need the information and intelligence from you."

She added: "I won't know it's going up or it's going down unless it gets logged."

Police pledged to review patrol plans and look at the possibility of increasing their presence in and around the shopping centre in Ringland.

Meanwhile, Emily Kemp the anti-social behaviour coordinator for Newport council, said young people who had come to their attention were set to be brought to court.

Ms Kemp also vowed to look at the possibility of increasing CCTV but the meeting heard there were limited funds.

The meeting also heard that Newport City Council was planning to revamp the area including the shops through a multi-million pound development, which could help to address anti-social behaviour.

Ringland Community Association helped to organise the meeting attended by around 50 people.

A follow up meeting is set to take place in about three months' time.