NEILSTON residents claim they are close to breaking point following a summer filled with vandalism, underage drinking and yobbish behaviour.

Villagers say they have been at the mercy of crowds of drunken teens intent on causing trouble.

Crowds of youngsters aged between 13 and 16 – many of them from outside Neilston – are said to have been arriving by train and heading to secluded spots on the outskirts of the village to drink and party.

Locals who have encountered the youths report witnessing underage drinking, fighting and public indecency, while others say they have suffered intimidation at the hands of off-road bikers.

There have also been complaints about vandalism which has seen numerous cars damaged and fires set.

Police have stepped up patrols in the area, with mounted officers and others on off-road motorbikes being deployed in a bid to prevent further escalation.

However, residents have said aggressive youths continue to cause problems.

Neilston Community Council (NCC) will discuss the problems at its next meeting, which will be attended by the police, East Renfrewshire Council and, it is hoped, community wardens.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, who represents Newton Mearns North and Neilston, is among those to highlight the ongoing problems.

He said: “Neilston is a great place to live but I am increasingly concerned about young people coming into the village, drinking to excess in the countryside and then returning to the village to carry out acts of vandalism and aggression.

“I have been in regular contact with the Police Area Commander, Chief Inspector John McQuilter, and have impressed upon him the need for extra attention and action in the village.

“He, in turn, has asked me to remind local people to report any incidents to the police.”

Jim Sheriff, of NCC, said residents are frustrated by the lack of patrols by community wardens in the village.

He added: “When they do visit, they are seen as mainly interested in parking issues. We want a change of approach from Community Safety to participate with the community in keeping the community safe, just like it says in their mission statement.”

East Renfrewshire Council said action to crack down on trouble in Neilston is already taking place.

A spokesperson added: “We can reassure the residents of Neilston that our wardens patrol the area every single day and work in close partnership with Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and local housing services to co-ordinate action to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“Several months ago, we installed two additional CCTV cameras at key locations on the High Street and Kingston Road upon request.”

Neilston Community Council is encouraging all village residents to have their say on anti-social behaviour by attending the meeting at the Glen Halls on Tuesday, August 28, starting at 7pm.