A TOTTON Councillor has praised the police after a "clampdown" on anti-social behaviour.

Officers from Totton set up a dispersal order over the weekend to help target anti-social and crime behaviour in the town centre.

It follows concerns raised about aggressive begging, drug use and the supplying of drugs, in the Totton precinct area.

The order gave Totton’s Neighbourhood Policing Team the power to disperse people involved in anti-social behaviour from a specified area.

The boundary of the area covered ran along Testwood Lane to Commercial Road, and back along Library Road to Testwood Lane.

The order was in place until 9am on Sunday morning and the situation is to be reviewed this week.

Councillor Neville Penman said: "There is a lot of crime in Totton and it has become worse over the last month.

"I think the police are doing their best despite short numbers.

"This is good news from my point of view, and from the residents' point of view as there are lot of people who are worried.

"The police really hammered the motorcycle gangs in Totton."

The crackdown follows more than 350 residents turning out for a crime meeting at the beginning of February.

In attendance was Councillors Neville Penman, am Churn, Arthur Davis, Len Harris and Ian Coombes as well as Helen Andrews, the police inspector from the New Forest, who answered questions from concerned residents.

Sergeant Rob Ford said: “The aim of this order is to improve the quality of life for the whole community, including residents and retailers.

“We know that such anti-social behaviour can have a negative impact to those visiting the town centre area.

“I’d encourage anyone who has encountered these types of issues to speak to our officers while they are out on patrol.

“It’s also important that people report issues to us by calling 101, as this will help us target our resources and respond accordingly.

“Officers will signpost those in genuine need to partners and support agencies.

“But where people are behaving in a way that causes others alarm and distress, we will take action.”