POLICE are set to crack down on anti-social behaviour at Victoria Playing Fields after local residents raised concerns of youngsters “dealing and smoking drugs” and “tormenting a local resident”.

South Wales Police has vowed to join forces with its PACT partners and step up patrols in the area to address the issue after receiving “increased reports” of anti-social behaviour from PCSOs during local PACT meetings.

A concerned Penarth resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Recently a gang of older youths appear to have taken up residence and have been blatantly dealing and smoking drugs, offering cigarettes to younger children and tormenting a local resident who has special needs.

“Most worryingly some idiot also tied a very long piece of string across the width of the field at the height of a child’s neck.

“The person who discovered it had to use her car key to cut it down.”

She added that the playing field is used by school children regularly and anyone who witnesses anti-social or concerning behaviour should contact the police on the non-emergency number 101 so that they can take action.

Inspector Steve Jennings reassured local residents that they were aware of the concerns and were addressing the issue.

“We’ve had recent reports of youths gathering, causing anti-social behaviour and disorder in the Victoria Playing Fields area. We would like to reassure the community of Penarth that we do see this as one of our main priorities as we know the effects anti-social behaviour has on people’s quality of life and fear of crime.

“Anti-social behaviour can have a huge impact on our neighbourhoods and South Wales Police is committed to ensuring people who are affected by this have their concerns investigated”.

He added: “People can be assured that we’re committed to working together to continue to drive down anti-social behaviour and the minority of people who do let themselves and their communities down. This minority will be subject to close attention by ourselves and our PACT partners. By working together we can help to improve the confidence levels of our communities.”

The Vale Council has also vowed to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

Phil Beaman, Operational Manager for Parks and Ground Maintenance, said: “We take anti-social behaviour very seriously in the Vale of Glamorgan, and any complaints we receive are immediately reported to the authorities.

“Council staff are working in partnership with the police to ensure that all anti-social behaviour is dealt with quickly, and that our parks are kept safe for all residents to use.”

Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood should contact South Wales Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.