POLICE have launched a crackdown after reports of youths running riot in Poole bus station.

Groups of young people are reported to have threatened staff in nearby business, smashed lights and set alarms off on buses and thrown missiles at buses and bus staff from a nearby car park.

They are also said to be shouting, smoking and spitting at people as they run through the bus station.

For the last three nights police from the Poole Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team have carried out extra patrols in a bid to tackle the escalating anti-social behaviour.

They have issued dispersal notices, banning youths from returning to the area for 12 hours, and have also taken some of the youths home.

But officers have also asked parents: “Do you know where your children are and what they are up to?”

A bus driver told the Daily Echo: “They have trashed KFC and prevented customers from leaving, given staff a hard time in Subway and stolen from McColls.

“The government is to blame for this for removing police by cutbacks and making it a crime to discipline without the fear of prosecution or social services getting involved.”

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He added: “What about customers waiting for a bus, having paper spat at them or asking if they want a fight. Bus drivers have also had enough - why are they getting away with it?”

A bus station retailer, who asked not to be named, said: “It is terrible, it has been happening every week. These are not young children either, some of them are young men and women, older youths at the very least.

“They are making trouble regularly for businesses here.

“Anyone who says they are not, they’re lying.”

One business has had its door kicked in a three times in recent months.

Bus passenger Gloria Timney added: “They are here after school and on weekends, it is very intimidating, they pay loud music and shout and swear at bus passengers.

“At some point they’ll act up to the wrong person, and they may get more than they bargained for.”

On Sunday night patrol teams took young people home after patrols in the town centre, Broadstone, Canford Heath and Oakdale. On Saturday they focused on the town centre and Oakdale and on Friday young people were removed from the bus station.

In messages posted on social media, officers said: “There has been increased reporting of young people involved in anti-social behaviour at these locations. We will deal robustly with any offences and will be there to reassure the community using these locations and the businesses.”

They also urged the public to continue to report any incidents and added: “We share information with our partners to try and deal with incidents as swiftly as possible.”

Staff at Subway and KFC declined to comment when approached by the Daily Echo.