They have smashed shop windows, engaged in underage drinking and verbally abused a disabled man in Bowen Square.
Now a group of just 25 youths identified as being largely responsible for offences in Daventry town centre are being targeted by a new police initiative cracking down on abusive, violent and antisocial behaviour.
‘Operation Nugget’, launched this week, sees Northamptonshire Police and representatives from youth agencies gathering information on those responsible for a number of incidents in the town centre, particularly near McDonald’s on Vicar Lane.
As part of the operation Sergeant Sam Dobbs and his safer communities team will interview the troublemakers either voluntarily under caution or, if necessary, under arrest.
In a frank and direct open letter sent last week to parents of students at the town’s secondary schools, Sgt Dobbs said he had become ‘increasingly worried’ about a small group of youths responsible for a spate of inappropriate behaviour in shops as well as more serious incidents including damage to property and assaults.
He added that on Thursday, February 12 he was forced to implemented new, rarely-used powers enshrined in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act to tackle abusive behaviour.
He said: “We issued tickets and orders for seven young people to be removed from Vicar Lane following abusive behaviour in the town centre and the targeting of a disabled man who was left very upset by the incident.
“I am determined that all young people should not be tarred with the same brush as the mindless behaviour I am describing is from a group of only 20 to 25 in number. We have all been young once and will all understand how easy it is to get in with the wrong crowd. There’s generally a great atmosphere in all our schools, and none of us linked to young people will tolerate the trends I am describing.”
However, Sgt Dobbs urged parents to speak to their children about the problems they face and to be alert to the signs of under-age drinking.
He told the Daventry Express: “We want the message to go out to young people that if they are in the company of other young people committing crimes they may well be dealt with the same way.
“We will use CCTV and everything in our power to keep the town centre safe for the public and protect the reputation of young people.
“The majority of young people we interact with outside of custody are brilliant to deal with.”