WESTON residents are being urged to report any incidences of anti-social or criminal conduct following a spike in concerning behaviour involving children and young people.

It has been noted that there is an issue with those aged under 18 breaking Public Space Protection Orders, which could include behaving in a "disorderly" manner.

Posting on Facebook, a spokesperson from the Safer Stronger North Somerset Team said: "Over the past few weeks, there has been a significant rise in anti-social behaviour (ASB) and criminality involving children and young people in Weston-super-Mare town centre.

"Teams from across the council, including the safer communities team and children’s services – including social care and the youth offending service – continue to work closely with the police and other partners to ensure the safety of all concerned.

"Avon and Somerset Police have made several arrests, including a child as young as 12 years of age. This has been possible as a result of investigations and proactive patrols, supported by footage from our close circuit television (CCTV) network.

"We’re working closely with North Somerset Neighbourhood Policing to issue fixed penalty notices to those aged under 18 who are in breach of our Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

"PSPOs cover a range of behaviour, including the use of alcohol in public places and acting in an anti-social or disorderly manner that causes, or is likely to cause, nuisance, harassment, alarm, or distress to any other person.

"When a PSPO is breached by a child or young person under the age of 18, this may be dealt with by the issue of £75 fixed penalty notice in appropriate circumstances or community-based reparation or restorative justice.

"This could include the young person who caused harm apologising, removing graffiti or taking part in mediation.

"Any fixed penalty notice would be served on a young person through their parent or carer. If a fixed penalty notice is not paid within 14 days, this can lead to prosecution which brings a maximum fine of £1,000 plus costs.

"Any money generated through fixed penalty notices must be reinvested into enforcement of ASB.

"Issuing fixed penalty notices is designed to act as a deterrent and encourage parents and carers to speak with their children around the ongoing issues within Weston town centre. PSPOs are just one of many different tools available to deal with ASB.

"Before issuing a fixed penalty notice, each case is carefully assessed to make sure it is an appropriate and proportionate response. 

"Please report all incidents of antisocial behaviour."