A FORMER Poole council leader said a bus station beset by anti-social behaviour is 'like a war zone'.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Dorset Police has launched a crackdown after reports of persistent trouble at Poole bus station.

Groups of young people who gather at the bus station have allegedly threatened staff working in nearby businesses and thrown missiles at passing vehicles.

Bus passengers have also reportedly been spat at and KFC was vandalised.

On Friday, Superintendent Jared Parkin, who has responsibility for policing across Poole, Purbeck and Bournemouth, said such behaviour won't be tolerated and warned perpetrators: "We're coming for you."

Now Councillor Elaine Atkinson has spoken of her concerns about problems at the bus station. In an email sent to colleagues earlier this month, Cllr Atkinson said she had taken a bus to Parkstone from the station at around 3.30pm on October 3.

"Frankly, it was like being in a war zone and actually quite scary," she said.

"There was a crowd of young people, looking about 14, 15 and 16. There was also a baby, of about six months, in the mix being passed around the girls.

"They were all smoking, shouting and swearing. None were in school uniform.

"When the group of girls with the baby left to get a bus, the remaining young people congregated together and were pushing each other around in an abandoned shopping trolley by the Subway. "There was the sound of walls being hit by the trolley and kicked."

She said the atmosphere felt "very unsafe" and suggested possible solutions, including a ban on unaccompanied teens in the bus station between 3pm and 5pm.

"I’m sure there are many other possibilities, but I guess the resource issue is the elephant in the room," she said.

"I think it is a societal problem, and not the bus company, the police, the council, but it needs addressing and I think a solution can only come about collectively."

Representatives from a range of organisations, including Dorset Police and Morebus, met for crisis talks on Wednesday.

Adam Keen, the general manager of Morebus, said the meeting "was arranged in recognition of anti-social behaviour issues in the town".

“It was a positive meeting, and I was encouraged to learn that more police resources will continue to be directed towards the bus station and Dolphin Centre to ensure a visible presence in the area," he said.

“It is unfortunate that, as within many towns and cities, anti-social behaviour by a few residents has such an adverse effect on the community.

"We will continue to work with our partners in Poole to reduce its impact on those living in and visiting the town.”