Police granted powers to disperse Verwood troublemakers

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Troublemakers in a Dorset town plagued by anti-social behaviour can now be ordered to leave the area under powers granted to police to tackle problems.

A three-month dispersal order is in place in Verwood and the Potterne area.

Police acted following a rise in groups of youths congregating in the area, with some drinking, behaving anti-socially and causing criminal damage.

Officers can now disperse groups of two or more people if they believe they are going to cause trouble.

They can also take any young person in the area aged under 16 home between 21:00 and 06:00 if they are involved in or thought to be at risk from anti-social behaviour.

Anyone caught flouting the order faces arrest.

Sgt Nikki Loftus said: "We can have groups of over 20 or 30 [youths].

"Not all of them cause problems but out of that group I would say there are probably 15 we are seeing on a regular basis. Every week this group has been causing us problems. It's quite intimidating for people."

Extra officers have already been drafted in from Bournemouth to target troublemakers, as well as special constables and police community support officers from other areas as part of Operation Keeper.

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