BOSCOMBE needs a new community group to protect the Tardis police box, a former mayor says.

Phil Stanley-Watts, who lives nearby, spoke out after the Daily Echo reported that the box is being 'used as a notice board for drug dealers'.

A mobile phone number – and the words 'call me 4 weed' – have been scrawled in pen on a plaque bolted onto the side of the Tardis.

Mr Stanley-Watts said: "I think this is something that was heavily supported by both residents and businesses in Boscombe, but it's been run down by both the council and the police.

"I don't blame residents for their protestations about it.

"I backed it from the beginning, mostly because it has a defibrillator in it, which I believed we badly needed.

"I thought it would help, but it's just not worked like that."

The marking was washed off the police box on the day the Daily Echo went to press. The number doesn't appear to connect.

The latest damage to the box happened just months after it was heavily daubed in graffiti.

Police and other officials unveiled the Tardis in the precinct in April 2014. Officials say it would be staffed "as much as is operationally possible during the trading hours in the precinct".

Almost six years on, staff are no longer permanently based at the police box itself, although two Community Safety Accredited Scheme (CSAS) officers are designated to patrolling the precinct area, along with two police constables from the local neighbourhood policing team.

Mr Stanley-Watts said: "There are problems with anti-social behaviour and drugs in the precinct, in spite of the Tardis.

"I think what we really need is a neighbourhood watch-style group. I'd like to support a 'friends of the Tardis' team.

"I believe it'd make a difference to problems in the area."