A DEDICATED street warden has been secured to patrol Poole's Ashley Road in a bid to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.

In the months before the coronavirus drastically changed the landscape of town's and cities across the UK, retailers and residents had been complaining of drug dealing, theft, fighting and intimidation along Ashley Road.

Many shops along the thoroughfare were also vacant.

When the Echo visited mid-January at least 11 of the units were empty.

Last year, in a public meeting called to address a rise in reported antisocial behaviour, traders expressed anger at what they felt was a lack of action by the authorities to tackle the issue.

Now it has been confirmed the road will have its own street warden who will be kitted out with a body camera which will capture any antisocial behaviour.

BCP Council's Newton and Heatherlands ward representative, Cllr Millie Earl, said: "Back in January I asked residents to submit comments to support a funding application for a community safety accreditation scheme (CSAS) that would provide Ashley Road with a dedicated street warden.

"I'm really pleased to tell you the bid was successful.

"The warden will be able to deter the drug use, drug dealing, theft, fighting, intimidation, abuse and public indecency that we've all witnessed and capture CCTV on a body cam and use devolved powers from the police to enforce the law.

"We had more than 100 messages in support of the scheme in just the first day.

"Thank you to everyone who submitted comments to make the bid successful.

"I'm confident that this will significantly reduce the antisocial behaviour that we've been experiencing in our community."

Speaking on social media in January, in support of the application, Cllr Earl said that drug use, drug dealing, theft, fighting, intimidation, abuse and public indecency on Ashley Road has been causing residents, shoppers and shop workers misery over the past couple of years.

The Ashley Road Traders Association supported the application.

During a community meeting held to tackle the issue, one Ashley Road businesswoman described the situation as the worst she'd seen on the road for 17 years.