Police Scotland has launched a crackdown on youth disorder in the centre of Barrhead with increased patrols.

There have been increasing concerns over the growing number of drink-related incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism involving local teenagers.

Since the start of the year, there have been 33 complaints to the police about hooliganism in and around the town's Main Street.

The "targeted" town centre crackdown is part of a wider initiative across East Renfrewshire against youth disorder, first revealed last week in the Barrhead News.

Large groups of children, aged 12 to 14, have been gathering outside the Foundry and Asda in the evenings after school.

This has led to acts of vandalism, stone-throwing and general anti-social and nuisance behaviour.

There have also been fights between gang members, windows smashed and confrontations with local security staff.

Sergeant James Higgins, the officer behind the town centre initiative, said: “We are aware of recent issues in antisocial behaviour incidents involving young people in Barrhead recently and are acutely aware of the disruptive effect this can have on a community.

“The issues have primarily focused on specific sites around Main Street.

“Local officers are working closely with specialist police resources and partners agencies to address these issues and find meaningful solutions to direct our young people towards more positive pastimes.

“Dedicated patrols are carried out in the area, with officers providing reassurance to the community as well as engaging with young people and discouraging antisocial behaviour."

Police Scotland says much of the disorder is drink related and they also unveiled plans last week for a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) to bring together community groups and partnerships to tackle underage drinking.

Mr Higgins added: "It is worth stressing that the vast majority of young people do not come to the attention of police but we know that a minority do sometimes become involved in anti-social behaviour and their actions can have a negative impact on the lives of local residents.

"We are committed to encouraging people away from this kind of behaviour but will take appropriate action where incidents are reported and offenders identified.

"Since the start of 2023, 33 reports have been made to partners including the youth justice authorities and social work regarding instances of disorder.

"I would also urge parents and guardians to make sure that they know where their children are, who they are associating with and what they are doing.

"Anyone who has concerns about anti-social behaviour in their area is encouraged to contact police by calling 101 as promptly as possible."

In March last year, a large group of youths descended on Fereneze Golf Course in Barrhead and set fire to several bushes at or around the fifth hole.

A lifebelt at the third hole was also stolen.

Later that month more than 100 litres of booze were seized by police after reports of large gangs of teenagers gathering in an area between Clarkston and Busby close to Williamwood High school.

Police say the drink-fuelled gangs have been travelling from Barrhead and all parts of Glasgow by train to meet up.

More than 200 youths were also dispersed by police after travelling into Clarkston and a 16-year-old male was arrested.

Anyone wanting to take part in the CAP survey can do so at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/29NY7RY