A DISPERSAL order is underway at car parks in Pontypool in an effort to prevent anti-social behaviour.

The 24-hour order runs until 9am on Friday June, 13, 2014, and applies to the Pontypool Civic Centre car parks off Glantorfaen Road, including the top floor of the Tesco overflow car park.

It will provide police officers and community support officers with the powers to direct any groups of two or more people, or vehicles, to leave this specified area.

If individuals under the age of 16 are taking part in anti-social behaviour within this area, then officers are able to take them home or to a place of safety between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

Anyone who returns to the designated area within 24 hours of being told leave can be arrested under Section 30(4) of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003.

If found guilty, they could receive a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £5,000.

The dispersal order was introduced following repeated incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Pontypool crime and disorder reduction officer, PC Andy Cleaton, said: “Due to persistent anti-social behaviour by various groups over recent weeks in and around the Pontypool Civic Centre car parks, including the top floor Tesco overflow, it has been necessary to designate it as a dispersal area.

“There have been a range of incidents taking place within these areas, including criminal damage and graffiti. There has also been smashed bottles, litter, the use of foul and abusive language as well as evidence of cannabis and alcohol misuse. There have also been reports of groups of between 20 to 30 people gathering in the area, and on one occasion in November, a group of 19 vehicles had gathered.

“The dispersal order will provide us with further powers to tackle this issue and prevent groups of people from gathering and causing a disturbance. Officers are patrolling the area regularly to enforce the dispersal order and to prevent incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

Three people were dispersed from the area earlier this week (on Tuesday December 17).

Maps and notices about the dispersal order have been put up around the car park in Pontypool.